Deepening crisis in Irish sheep sector

A Sheep Vision group established last year hasn’t even met yet

Huge drop in price leaving farmers losing money ‘hand over fist’

Sligo News File

ICSA Sheep Committee Chairman Sean McNamara has said he is appalled by the lack of urgency at government level over the worsening situation in the sheep industry.

Sean McNamara, Chairman, ICSA Sheep Committee

Hitting out, he said a Sheep Vision group set up in 2022 has still never met.

Branding it “disgraceful given what is currently going on in the sector,” he said agriculture minister McConalogue “must get this group going and he must do it without delay.

“The clock is now ticking for sheep farmers because they cannot see a way to keep producing if all they are doing is losing money hand over fist.

“Teagasc has said the net margin per ewe in 2022 was just €7, down from €39 per ewe the previous year. That is a drop of over 80% at a time when our costs have gone through the roof.

“We were low-income in 2021 but we are no income now and we cannot survive as a sector without serious intervention.

“Processors, retailers, and Department of Agriculture officials all need to get around the table with sheep farmer representatives and plot a way forward.

“The Minister has a responsibility to make this happen; he needs to get the Sheep Vision group going and find a way of keeping sheep farming viable.”