28 AUGUST 2020
ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara has said the Department of Agriculture must step up and compensate sheep farmers impacted by Covid-19 following the announcement that sheep farmers in Northern Ireland are eligible for aid. “News that our counterparts in the north are in line for payments of €7.60/hd on all lambs and ewes slaughtered between 22 March and 18 April is a real kick in the teeth for local sheep farmers who have been left out of all compensation packages thus far,” he said.
“My fellow sheep farmers and I have watched while beef farmers have been compensated for the market disruption brought about by the pandemic. Before that we watched as beef farmers received Brexit related aid in the form of the BEAM scheme. Now we have to watch as sheep farmers in the north receive compensation, that includes compensation for lambs exported to the Republic. It’s time for our own sheep farmers to be brought into the equation.”
Mr McNamara is calling for a Sheep Taskforce to be established. “ICSA is looking for a payment of €30 per ewe as part of a new Sheep Welfare Scheme, greater transparency around the huge level of sheep imports coming into the country on a weekly basis as well as the creation a wool board/forum to find solutions to the collapse of wool prices and revitalise the wool industry here.”
“We need a Sheep Taskforce to tackle these issues and to ensure that sheep farmers are not forgotten when it comes to Brexit and Covid-19 related compensation packages.”