The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Local Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien, has welcomed the announcement that €3m in exceptional aid supports will be made available to the horticulture sector.
Minister O’Brien, who recently accompanied Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue on a number of engagements with growers in North County Dublin said the announcement was a recognition of the challenges facing the sector at present.
Commenting he said, “I was very glad to support this memo at Cabinet. I recently visited a number of growers in North County Dublin along with Minister McConalogue and its clear there are significant challenges facing the sector.
“The sector has seen a contraction in growers in recent months and it is considered that the current situation with the war in Ukraine imposes an existential challenge to the sector.
“There are 10 ‘High-wire’ protected glass house producers of tomatoes, cucumber and peppers impacted, and approx. 250 commercial field vegetable producers, 35 mushroom producers and 50 commercial apple producers nationally who are particularly impacted.
“WelGro Produce, one of only two commercial cucumber growers in Ireland are running a fantastic operation in Rush in North County Dublin. They explained very clearly the pressures they were facing and the challenges to the viability of their business. I am happy to hear that they will be now be eligible for exceptional aid supports.
It’s important, however, that we continue to protect the viability of all our growers. A fair return for primary producers is pivotal to the long-term survival of the industry. I want food producers here in Dublin Fingal to be protected,” he concluded.