Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has said in the Dáil today that the Minister for Agriculture’s position is no longer tenable.

Speaking to the Taoiseach, Deputy Tóibín stated:

“Tens of thousands of farmers are earning an average of €8,000 year. Shockingly, this is below the pension and jobseekers’ rates.

“This is an income of €4 an hour. Less than half the minimum wage. Teagasc state that only 1/3 of farmers are making a living from their farm. Another 1/3 of farmers are only making a living because they have a second, or even third job.  And 1/3 of farmers are in poverty.

“Pat Deering, the Fine Gael cathaoirleach of the Agriculture committee, stated in September that under Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael rule farmers are unreasonable to expect a price that covered the cost of production. It is therefore clear that keeping farmers in poverty amounts to government policy.

“In which other sector, Taoiseach, should people be expected to work for a poverty income?

“You said yesterday that the government does not control the price of beef. As any leaving cert economics student will tell you, that’s not really true. The government ultimately determines the structure of the market and the dysfunctional, lopsided market controls the price of beef.

“Given that farming equates to poverty and debt for so many, do you not agree that Michael Creed’s position is no longer tenable?”

CRÍOCH