The decision to scrap the VAT rebate on bulk tanks has been described as “deliberately damaging” by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).
ICMSA president Pat McCormack said the move to rescind the VAT rebate to farmers buying bulk milk tanks, calf feeders and other items as petty and yet more evidence - “if it was even needed” - that a deliberately anti-dairy policy is being pushed throughout all agencies of Government.
McCormack said the decision meant that farmers investing in better equipment aimed at long-term sustainability would now have to write off the expenditure over seven years instead of getting the VAT rebate within three weeks, as was previously the case.
The ICMSA president said what was previously doable, had - at a stroke - been rendered impossibly expensive for most dairy farmers.
McCormack said that it was not even the money, though that was very considerable, that was the worst aspect of the decision, he said it was the jaw-dropping contradictions and downright spite the decisions represented that would stop farmers “in their tracks”.
“The level of deliberately undermining decisions now being applied to the dairy farming sector, in which we lead the world, is now a matter of depressing astonishment.
“We had Ministers McConalogue and Ryan and Taoiseach Varadkar at our AGM less than a fortnight ago, falling over themselves to assure us of their commitment to Irish farming and supporting us on the transition through to even better sustainability. Less than two weeks later, we see how essentially worthless their words and assurances are.
“So, far from supporting us, at the very first chance, they actually kick out a really practical support to dairy farmers investing in their farms. Something that was doable through some bridging finance and a workable schedule of repayments is now made much, much harder and financially punishing,” McCormack said.
The ICMSA president said that this latest kick at dairy farmers came just after the ICMSA had been forced to describe TAMS III as “shambolic from start to finish” and so hopelessly unworkable and choked with rules that a full review and relaunch must be considered.
McCormack said that it was becoming difficult to ignore the level of deliberately damaging and undermining practice that most agencies of the Irish State were now habitually bringing to their work and interactions with farmers.
“We have a right to expect our rural Government TDs to stand up and demand the immediate reversal of this spitefully damaging decision,” he said.