Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-
“I am appalled, but not surprised, by Minister O’Neill lavishing €137m of farming money on the rural development programme, because she has form on such misdirection of funds. Last year she oversaw £844,000 of RDP funds go to one of the richest GAA Clubs in Ireland, Tyrone. Now, she is preparing the way for such further waste by over subscription to Pillar 2 and haemorrhaging of such funds from Pillar 1.
“Pillar 1 is the route for direct aid to farmers. That is where the need is greatest, but this minister again shows farmers are not her priority. Of course, there is a place for a RDF, especially if it is used to help the agri-food industry, but when, as hitherto, it is squandered, then, facilitating that further is a most retrograde step.”