Sinn Féin outlines ‘Suckler Cow Scheme’ in alternative budget

Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy has today (Thursday, October 8) announced a “landmark” Suckler Cow Scheme as part of the party’s alternative budget.

With a commitment of an additional €107 million in spending, the scheme would be open to all suckler farmers; “having the greatest impact on those with small to medium-sized herds”, according to the TD.

Deputy Carthy said:

“We recognise that for far too long the suckler farmer has not received a fair price for their premium produce; despite producing the best beef in the world, which is among the most environmentally sustainable beef produced in the world.

“Sinn Féin is committed to supporting the suckler farmer.

In our alternative budget we will provide for a new Suckler Cow Scheme that will deliver: €300 for the first 15 cows/calf pair; €150 for the next 15; €80 for the remainder, up to 100.

“Sinn Féin is committed to a new plan for [its] farming families that delivers fair prices, a fair CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] and fair play. We have a bold vision for Irish family farming and for rural Ireland.”

He added that the Suckler Cow Scheme is “a central part of that and we encourage the government to adopt this model in Budget 2021”.

“Through all the rhetoric of climate action, it is bizarre that government policies continue to promote an intensive beef production model that favours factory feedlots rather than the suckler family farm model.

“Saving the Irish family farm is essential if we are to save our rural communities. Our alternative budget will deliver for both family farmers and the local communities that depend on them.”

Joint Committee on Agriculture

This follows the deputy telling the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine this week that “it struck me that the one set of farmers who have had no new scheme made available to them during the Covid period are the suckler farmers, who are the ones who need it the most”.

Speaking on Tuesday (October 6), he said: “Next week, the budget will be announced. The government is in a position to announce a new suckler cow scheme under which payments would be made directly to the farmers who are most beneficial to the environment and the rural economy.”