Published: Tue, 28 July 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly, has called on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to put forward a timeline for the implementation of financial instruments in the Rural Development Programme. MEP Kelly has said that the implementation of these financial instruments would be a “vital boost” to young farmers in particular.
“The well-documented problems with our high interest-rates are causing significant difficulties for farmers, especially young farmers. There is a real need to improve access to finance for farmers by way of cheaper loans and this can be done by modifying the Regional Development Programme to set aside money for a guarantee fund, lowering the risk for lenders.
“I am pleased to see that the department is engaging with the European Commission, European Investment Bank and other institutions to identify how to implement the financial instruments, however a clear and concrete timeline outlining when we can expect this implementation would be most welcome to the farming community.”
Financial Instruments can take the form of loans at competitive interest rates over longer terms, guarantees or equity and are designed to increase the total amount of investments in rural areas by also attracting investments from other sources. The Fine Gael MEP has said that Ireland should follow in the footsteps of other EU Member States who have already implemented them.
“Other Member States have already seen the benefit of these financial instruments and we should therefore follow their example. A key advantage to rural communities is the leverage effect that these instruments can bring; 3-5 times as much finance from the EIB and banks can be generated compared to the current situation. This will encourage additional investments locally, accelerating growth and job creation in the process,” Mr Kelly added.
“I have received a lot of positive feedback from farmers, particularly young farmers, and farming organisations at the prospect, and so would welcome some formal guidance.”
(L-R): Professor Ray Bates, Meteorology & Climate Centre, UCD, Seán Finan, President of Macra, Seán Kelly MEP, Edmund Connolly, CEO of Macra