Dáil Éireann - Volume 369 - 22 October, 1986

Written Answers. - Low Interest Loans.

392. Mr. MacSharry asked the Minister for Agriculture if he plans to act on the proposals recently submitted to him to alter a new £35 million Euro Currency loan to assist young farmers willing and able to diversify into new enterprises.

393. Mr. MacSharry asked the Minister for Agriculture given the Agricultural Institute's warnings in early September that unless lower interest rates are available to farmers, it will be virtually impossible to get meaningful development in the vital cattle and beef sector to compensate for the decline in milk output, if he agrees in the interests of the long term development in the sector given falling farmer incomes, that it is vital that the Government take action to increase the availability of low-interest loans to the beef sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Deasy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 392 and 393 together.

Under the two exchange rate guarantee schemes a total of £235 million is being made available at attractive low [218] rates of interest in respect of both new working capital requirements and existing debts. The interest rates on the loans concerned, which can be up to £50,000, depend on the rate at which EMS currencies can be borrowed abroad but should be of the order of 5.5 per cent.

The schemes provide loans at exceptionally favourable interest rates for a wide range of farmers and farming activities, including beef production. Young farmers, along with other farmers, are eligible to participate in the schemes and receive the substantial benefits that are available.