Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food & Horticulture and TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has hit out at the Agriculture Minister for failing to bring in a promised loan scheme for farmers wanting to invest in their farms.

It’s now just six weeks until the March 29th Brexit deadline, and the €25 million allocation for a Brexit loan scheme for farmers and fishermen announced in Budget 2018 (October 2017)has still not opened.

Deputy Cahill said, “The Brexit loan scheme for farmers has become almost farcical.  The scheme was promised 16 months ago and was designed to help farmers and fishermen who wanted to undertake long term capital investments to assist them diversify or plan ahead of Brexit.  The idea was that farmers and fishermen could apply for long term loans with low interest rates to help them adapt in the changing Brexit landscape.

“However, with only six weeks to go until 29th March, and the possibility of a no deal scenario on the table, there is still no sign of the loan scheme being rolled out.

“Instead of providing supports and certainty for farmers at an extremely volatile time, this government has failed to deliver on a promise it made two Budgets ago.  It sends a clear signal to farmers about their relevance to this government.  Rural Ireland simply isn’t a priority and farmers – particularly small family farmers – have been allowed to slip off the agenda.

“The latest information we have about the scheme is that it will be opened in Q1 2019.  Unfortunately for many farmers it’s a case of too little too late”, concluded Deputy Cahill.