IFA national farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh said the exit of Ulster Bank from the banking market is creating huge uncertainty and added stress for many farmers, who are already worried about escalating input costs and falling farm incomes.
The IFA met with Ulster Bank last week to discuss the phased exit of the bank from the Irish market.
“Anecdotally, we’ve heard of cases where existing Ulster Bank customers are waiting literally months for an initial meeting with a new financial provider to set up a current account facility with them,” McDonagh said.
She added that some farmers “are encountering obstacles in opening business accounts and overdrafts, even though personal accounts are held with the new bank provider.”
“All the push is towards online account opening. However, this doesn’t work for all customers, particularly our most vulnerable. We have heard of internal policies within the pillar banks restricting daily manual account opening. It’s not feasible or fair on our customers. We will be engaging with the Central Bank to ensure this issue is closely monitored.
“We cannot have a situation where farmers have no functional business current account or overdraft to maintain on-farm operations,” McDonagh concluded.
Deferral of deadline on vet medicines will allow for meaningful engagement
IFA animal health chair TJ Maher said that 1 June is fast approaching and there is still no solution to maintain the competitive supply of veterinary medicines for farmers.
“The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue made a decision to defer the implementation to 1 June to provide time to address the concerns of farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies. This deadline is now upon us and all stakeholders are left completely unprepared,” he said.
He said the minister should further defer the implementation of this aspect of the new EU veterinary medicine regulations until a practical approach to this contentious issue has been agreed by all stakeholders.
He said the NVPS and the TASAH programmes, in their current formats, are not sufficiently addressing the concerns of farmers.
“All stakeholders are prepared to work to find a suitable solution to address the concern of farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies,” he said.
“It’s within the minister’s remit to defer this in order to resolve the substantive issue of a competitive supply chain for farmers. This will provide an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with all stakeholders.”