Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Rural Development, Rural Affairs & the Gaeltacht Éamon Ó Cuív has slammed the Government for making hollow promises to Island farmers in its Programme for Government.

Fine Gael and the Independents made a commitment to invest an extra €15m in funding for the Islands; however this money is simply a rehash of a previous investment.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “I recently asked the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed whether the money, as outlined on page 114 of the Programme for Government, was being made in addition to the existing island top-up, which is paid out under the Areas of Natural Constraint scheme.

“It’s now emerged that this €15m, which was depicted as new money in the Programme for Government, is in fact a continuation of the previous support being delivered under the Rural Development Plan.  The truth of the matter is that no new money is being provided.

“This is a deliberate attempt by the Government to appear as if they have an interest in rural Ireland, when they are failing to invest in essential services and schemes.  The promises made in the Programme for Government are beginning to ring hollow with people on the Islands.

“Island communities are in need of investment and the promised €15m would go a long way in assisting island farmers – by helping them preserve traditional farming methods and prevent land abandonment.  It is extremely frustrating to learn that yet another commitment is being broken, island farmers are being forgotten and there are no plans to roll out the money which was promised in the Programme for Government”.