Fianna Fail mounts pressure on Minister to underpin future of suckler farmers

‘Unanimously supported Dáil motion powers up case for €200 cow grant.’

Sligo News File

Fianna Fail is battling for a better payment deal for suckler farmers.

 

Eamon Scanlon, TD

The party is demanding that the Minister for Agriculture introduce a payment of €200 per suckler cow and review “departmental underspends across Rural Development Programme
schemes.”

Deputy Eamon Scanlon spoke during a debate on Wednesday night when he reminded the Minister that “farmers in the North West are the engine that drives the beef industry in this country. We produce the calves that are fed for beef and are the basis for the country’s €2.5bn beef export sector.

Conditions farmers in the suckler industry are facing have, he said, “deteriorated steadily in recent years and have now reached a point where many are finding it extremely difficult to remain viable.

“They need help, specifically a suckler grant of at least €200, if they are to survive, he said.

Fianna Fáil, he said, “has been arguing for this kind of payment for years while Fine Gael continues to turn a blind eye.

“Farmers in the region are put to the pin of their collar. They cannot go dairying because the land is so scattered. The suckler cow sector is the most sustainable, if the supports are provided.”

The average income from the industry is €13,000, he said. “Farmers depend fully on CAP supports to maintain their livelihoods.

“Not only do we need to see the €200 payment per sucker cow introduced, we also need the Minister to fight the farmers’ corner in the next round of CAP negotiations to ensure that payments are not reduced,”

“Our motion also recognises the serious underspend across RDP projects. The Minister must now establish a review to look at how that money can be used to support vulnerable sectors including the suckler cow industry.”

Adding that the motion was “unanimously supported in the Dáil,” he said the Minister now needed to recognise this “and follow through with action.”