ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara has said he is appalled by the lack of urgency at government level around dealing with the worsening crisis in the sheep sector. “A Sheep Vision group was established last year but this group has still never met. This is disgraceful given what is currently going on in the sector. Minister McConalogue must get this group going and he must do it without delay,” he said.
“As a sector we are not getting enough for our product, and we are not getting enough supports. The clock is now ticking for sheep farmers because they cannot see a way to keep producing if all they are doing is losing money hand over fist. Teagasc have said the net margin per ewe in 2022 was just €7, down from €39 per ewe the previous year. That is a drop of over 80% at a time when our costs have gone through the roof. We were low-income in 2021 but we are no income now and we cannot survive as a sector without serious intervention.”
“Processors, retailers, and Department of Agriculture officials all need to get around the table with sheep farmer representatives and plot a way forward. The Minister has a responsibility to make this happen; he needs to get the Sheep Vision group going and find a way of keeping sheep farming viable.”