Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has defended the progress made on introducing a Brexit response loan scheme, according to Agriland.ie.
Announced as part of October’s Budget last year, the new loan scheme will see €25 million secured to provide a low-cost loan scheme for farmers.
It is reported that the scheme would be delivered in the second half of 2018. In a Dail meeting, Minister Creed reiterated his aim to deliver the scheme by that deadline.
Complex & Protracted Negotiations
“There are a lot of moving parts in this. It is not solely an issue of the department developing the product. A number of critical partners are involved, including parties with which we are negotiating at EU level,” Minister Creed said, speaking at the Dail to Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue.
“Those negotiations are complex and protracted and getting all parties to move on the design of the scheme simultaneously is challenging. In due course, this will also involve the participation of financial institutions in Ireland to deliver the product.”
While McConalogue said that it is “unacceptable” that more progress has not been made given the severity of the situation for farmers at present, Creed added that, while he would like to have it as early as possible, it is unlikely to happen in the coming weeks.
“Such schemes are developed and delivered in cooperation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and take time to develop and put into operation.
“Consideration and discussions are ongoing in that regard and I will announce further details as they become available.”
McConalogue argued that the difficulties in putting a loan together “pales in significance” to the difficulties surrounding Brexit, and said that Brexit will already be upon us by the time some farmers are able to access the scheme.
Creed highlighted his department’s track record in delivering schemes like this, which has seen two products delivered, one worth €300 million introduced earlier this year and a previous one worth €150 million.
The Minister again reiterated that the product will be not be seen until later into the second half of the year.
The IFA president Joe Healy recently wrote a letter to Creed’s department calling on the introduction of the low-interest loan package to help off-set farmer’s expenses caused by the drought.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.