It is vital to support the farming community if Ireland wants to keep people on the land, Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross has said.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic after an appeal for all Masses in the diocese to include prayers for the farming community, Bishop Buckley said parishes had responded well to the appeal, which was appreciated by the dioceses’ farmers.
“The farmers are under great pressure in recent times after a long, cold and unseasonably wet winter and spring. They’re experiencing great hardship and they certainly need support from the wider community,” he said, explaining that weather conditions had forced farmers to keep livestock indoors for much longer than usual, with fodder supplies running low.
In his travels throughout the diocese people have constantly told him how serious the fodder situation is and that they would appreciate Government support, he said.
“I think that the Government should just respond very generously to the situation,” he said, adding, “maybe they are, but the farmers are saying they need more.”
Pointing out the importance of the farming community to Ireland’s economic wellbeing, Dr Buckley said: “The danger would be in case they think of abandoning agriculture and abandoning their farms and so on.”
“It’s very important to support them,” he said, continuing, “I’d be very concerned about rural depopulation, especially in West Cork. It has happened and the danger is that this could accelerate it.”