Youth Farmers' Clubs Funds In Focus

There's a hot debate underway over funding for an important - long established rural community initiative in the North.

The Ulster Unionist MLA, Danny Kinahan (pictured) has this morning repeated his condemnation of the proposed withdrawal of £75,000 of funding from the Young Farmers' Clubs.

He called on the Sinn Fein Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew to rethink these cuts.

"I am pleased to see that a meeting between our party leader, Tom Elliott and the Minister has now taken place and that she has the full facts on which to make her decision, whilst we were still in the budget consultation period," he said.

He continued: "The Young Farmers' Clubs embody the spirit of youth that all clubs should follow.

"With just under 2,500 members and a further 3,500 young people taking part, the clubs help give exceedingly well grounded experience in communication skills, the arts, management and of course agricultural management, which is extremely important to our economy.

"They lead in promoting road safety, in raising funds for charity and in very many other agricultural fields giving confidence and expertise whilst at all times imbuing a sense of fun and community spirit within the clubs and the surrounding rural areas.

"They are an example to us all and must be treated as a rich resource and protected as such," he said, speaking out shortly after the MP and Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew had also held a meeting with representatives of Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YCFU).

She said the meeting was arranged following the proposal not to renew the grant to clubs, which would come to an end in March.

The grant, worth £75,000 a year, was one of the cost savings proposed in the Department's draft budget proposals, published in January.

The Minister said in a subsequent statement that she recognised the work of the YFCU on developing leadership, communication and rural skills and their contributions to voluntary work in their local community.

"I have had a very useful discussion and have indicated the areas where I believe the clubs may contribute, and the sort of measurable outputs that they would have to deliver to justify continued grant aid," she said.

The 'areas of future work' discussed included Rural Road Safety, Succession Planning, encouraging the uptake of online applications by farm businesses, schools outreach programme of a cross-community nature, and a programme of work to integrate the work of the YFCU into local rural community initiatives, including a focus on rural womens' issues.

The Minister said: "I have taken on board the very considerable response to the proposal during the consultation period which finished yesterday.

"This has been the single issue that has attracted most comment. I recognise how much the YFCU is valued in our rural community, therefore I made it a priority to meet with the YFCU," she said, but not yet making known what the final decision on funding would be.

See: UFU Support Needed: MLA


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 April 2014
'Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy' Report Published
The Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) report, "Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy", has been launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
29 November 2019
New National LGBTQ+ Inclusion Strategy Launched
A new National Inclusion Strategy for Ireland's LGBTQ+ communities has been launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton.
14 December 2009
Rural Welcome On Self Defence Proposals
A leading representative group for rural Ireland has welcomed new proposals giving more powers to individuals in their use of self defence.
09 April 2014
Dublin Sports Clubs To Discuss Commercial Rates Legislation
The Chair of the Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Committee on Culture, Sport and Community, has called a meeting of sports clubs from across Dublin to outline Fianna Fail's proposals aimed at driving down commercial rates on the clubs.
05 November 2012
New Chairman Of CEDRA Announced
The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, has announced that Pat Spillane will be the Chairman of the new Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA). Minister Hogan said: "Getting people back to work remains this Government’s number one objective.