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Feb 28, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA members have today gathered at Dáil Eireann and the Department of Agriculture to seek financial support for the crisis hit sheep sector. Speaking at the protest ICSA president Dermot Kelleher said, “We are here today to fight for the very survival of the sheep sector and to fight for economic sustainability of each and every sheep farmer. These are the people who despite working seven days a week to put food on your table are experiencing severe financial hardship; they urgently need to be thrown an economic lifeline – not thrown to the wolves.” 

ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara said, “ICSA is demanding an emergency support package of €50 million for sheep farmers – to be funded from the from the Brexit Reserve Fund. We also want the Sheep Improvement Scheme increased towards €30/ewe and an extra €5/ewe for correct presentation of wool.”  

Continuing Mr McNamara said, “Brexit brought untold turmoil to the sheep sector and the ramifications are still being felt to this day. The New Zealand lamb imports are a consequence of Brexit; the weakness of sterling since 2016 is a consequence of Brexit; and the importation of more than 500,000 lambs per year in live and carcase form is a consequence of Brexit. The purpose of the Brexit Reserve Fund is to mitigate the negative effects of Brexit and we can see no reason for those monies to go unspent – and be returned to Brussels – when sheep farmers are in such dire straits. This Government needs to do the right thing by accessing this fund and supporting sheep farmers.” 

“We also want to see real movement of the Sheep Improvement Scheme. A payment of €12/ewe is an insult to sheep farmers and the work they do. As a CAP support it is pitiful; the payment is simply not fit for purpose and must be revised upwards as a matter of urgency.” 

“Sheep farmers are producing world-class top-quality food in an environmentally sustainably way – all we are asking is that our economic sustainability be given some consideration. Our margin per ewe is down over 80% to just €7/hd. It wouldn’t even buy a pint in Temple Bar. The bottom line is we are not getting an adequate price for our product, nor are we in receipt of enough government support. Both of these issues must be tackled in order to save the sheep sector.” 


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ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said it is unacceptable that some 18,600 farmers will have to wait until February 2024 to receive their ACRES payment. “ICSA, along with other farmer representatives, today (6 December) met with senior Department of Agriculture officials in Portlaoise for an update on payments from the various farm schemes. At this meeting we were informed that no participant of the Cooperation Project (CP) stream of ACRES tranche one will be paid until February at the earliest. This news will come as a devasting blow to all those farmers who have been already waiting far too long for their payments,” he said.

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