11th December, 2015
ICSA president Patrick Kent is asking Minister Coveney to explain why national funds were diverted to add to an EU rescue package for dairy and pig farmers. Mr Kent said that while half of the €27.40m rescue package is coming from Brussels, the rest is coming in the form of a Government top-up. “Using scarce national funds in this manner is questionable and at the very least we must be informed of the source of this money”, he said.
Mr Kent said that while he is sympathetic to the plight of dairy and pig farmers, cattle and sheep farmers are manifestly worse off than their dairy counterparts. “Teagasc reports that annual dairy income is approximately €48,000 while beef and sheep farmers are lucky to make even a third of that, so we remain a long way behind dairy farmers in terms of annual income”.
“If beef farmers have a bad year next year, which unfortunately is looking likely, can we expect the same assistance?” he asked. “Last year when beef farmers were in crisis we got a Beef Forum with no financial support whatsoever. In the event of another serious beef crisis I fear that resources will not be there. How low do cattle and sheep farmers’ incomes have to go before they receive funding like dairy farmers got?”