Conditions for Brexit beef fund revealed by department

A number of conditions for farmers seeking to avail of funding from the €100 million Brexit beef package have been revealed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Thursday, June 20, Brendan Gleeson, secretary general for the department, revealed details on the scheme.

Responding to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward, Gleeson said: “Some of those things have to be decided but I’ll tell you what I can tell you.

“The decision, this is an implementing regulation of the EU; it has been published, the commission are providing €50 million for this in funding.

“It is called a temporary adjustment scheme, that’s what the commission are calling it.

The conditions include membership of an environmental scheme or membership of a quality assurance scheme. And then there’s a requirement imposed by the commission that we would have some kind of temporary reduction.

Elaborating, the secretary general explained that the European Commission examined the case put forward for the Irish market and noted: “They said ‘well, if you want this €50 million, one of the conditions must be there must be some temporary adjustment in supply to address the market issue.”

Quizzed by deputy Aylward as to whether this scheme would mean a reduction in animals, Gleeson agreed that it could, adding that the implementing regulation was scheduled to go through the monitoring committee yesterday.

“At that point then we’ll know clearly what the regulation says, and then we’ll have some kind of consultation with farm bodies on how we do that. But obviously we’re going to be constrained by the parameters within the regulation,” Gleeson warned.

It could be a requirement for a reduction in animals – but it won’t be a requirement for some kind of permanent adjustment if that’s what people are afraid of and it will be voluntary.

Explaining the commission’s perspective, the secretary general said: “The commission are looking at this and are saying ‘Ireland is slaughtering an extra 10,000 animals a week and therefore maybe that has something to do with the price dynamic as well and therefore if we’re going to provide money for Ireland there has to be some kind of supply adjustment as well’.

“But the heading on this regulation will be ‘Temporary Adjustment Aid’. The same thing happened with milk a couple of years ago – 2016 I think – where there was a voluntary reduction scheme for farmers who wanted to reduce the supply of milk – so it’ll be the same kind of thing.

“If you want the money you have to do this, but it will be some kind of temporary adjustment – the detail of which will have to be worked out in consultation with farmers,” Gleeson concluded.

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