Creed ‘bites back’ on FF’s 14-point beef sector demands

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has hit back at Fianna Fáil’s 14-point motion to tackle ongoing challenges facing the Irish beef farming sector.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Minister Creed said that the Government is “not opposing” last night’s (March 27) motion “due to the fact that it is already actively delivering on all of the matters raised”.

The motion proposals cover a number of key issues in the sector at the moment, namely: Brexit; live exports; supply chain transparency; CAP; and international trade going forward.

In response to Fianna Fáil’s request for “immediate Brexit mitigation funding for farmers” – specifically exceptional and market disturbance aid for beef and other vulnerable sectors under Article 219 of the Common Agricultural Policy Common Market Organisation Regulation – the spokesperson outlined that the EU Commission “is ready to support Ireland”.

The terms and conditions of any aid package will be announced in due course, in the event that a disorderly Brexit occurs. We continue to hope that this outcome will be avoided.

“The European Commission recently announced that the maximum threshold limits under the agriculture de minimis regulation will increase from €15,000 up to €25,000. This will allow for greater flexibility and efficiency, notably in times of crisis.

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“It was also pointed out that the department, alongside the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, has also received approval from the commission for an Irish state aid application, that would allow an Irish food company to receive state aid funding for the diversification of its activities.

“The potential for this approval to act as a template for assistance for agri-food enterprises within state aid rules is currently being examined,” the spokesperson said.

CAP Budget

On Fianna Fáil’s calls to secure additional funding under the next CAP reform programme to achieve a suckler cow support payment of €200/cow, Minister Creed said he is “firmly committed” to ensuring that suckler farmers continue to receive strong support in the next CAP.

Critically, Ireland has called for the protection of the CAP budget and Minister Creed has engaged extensively with other member states to seek support for this position.

“The Taoiseach has indicated that Ireland is prepared to increase its net contributions to the EU, but only if core policies, including the CAP, are protected.

“In addition to the €300 million BDGP [Beef Data Genomics Programme] scheme the minister has recently opened the €20 million BEEP scheme,” said the spokesperson.