FARMER’S JOURNAL – 19 July 2016
The €11.1m Ireland received out of the €350m targeted aid package from the European Commission does not come with strings attached exclusively to dairy, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said.
Speaking exclusively to the Irish Farmers Journal before his presentation to the IFA executive council on Tuesday 19 July, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that decisions will have to be made in the near future over whether other livestock farmers besides dairy will also get a slice of the new €11.1m support package from the EU Commission.
The overall €500m package is broken into €150m to incentivise a reduction in milk production and €350m for “targeted aid”. Ireland will receive €11.1m out of the €350m.
After the announcement of the targeted aid on Monday, Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) president Patrick Kent questioned the granting of a further rescue package for dairy farmers.
“The ICSA is simply looking for equal treatment for the beef sector,” Kent said. “However, yet again we are seeing aid flooding to the dairy sector while the beef sector is cast adrift. How is it that Brussels can repeatedly come up with money for dairy farmers and find nothing for beef farmers?”
Glimmer of hope
However, Creed provided a glimmer of hope for beef and sheep farmers on Tuesday by confirming that “the €11m does not come with strings attached exclusively to dairying”. And while the minister could not confirm which livestock sectors besides dairy would receive part of the targeted aid, he did confirm that pig farmers would not be receiving part of it as prices in that sector have enjoyed a recovery in recent weeks.
The minister also said he is “happy” with the amount of money Ireland received.
“Taking into account the way the sands have shifted around the council table in recent weeks and months in terms of the agenda around supply control measures,” the minister said, “I think it’s a significant victory that out of a €500m package only €150m is in the supply control area.
“The dairy industry here was rightly concerned about that so it is significant that we got €350m on the other side [for targeted aid].”