Tuesday, 15 November 2016
I thank the Minister of State for his comments and I am heartened by his sincerity in trying to find solutions to this acute problem. The industry is one in which we have achieved worldwide recognition. We are a world beater in the production of mushrooms. The aid scheme we are seeking would be a temporary measure to get people over the hump. The €1.5 million in EU funding through the banks the Minister of State mentioned is welcome. My understanding is the banking sector is tightening up, as many businesses are aware. Sterling has also weakened. Businesses' credit providers are gauging the survivability of the mushroom industry and we are looking for a more immediate jolt. Employer's PRSI was mentioned. Perhaps payments might be frozen for a six-month period to get people out of this problem. As I said, I am heartened by the Minister of State's comments and hope some immediate measures will be put in place in order that jobs which are hard to come by because they are to be found in rural Ireland, as I am sure the Minister of State is aware, can be sustained.