Creed ‘clarifies’ 4 movement rule comments

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has clarified comments made regarding the controversial four-movement rule in recent weeks.

The minister sought to clarify comments he made in response to a parliamentary question from independent TD for Kerry Michael Healy Rae last week.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for Minister Creed said: “Bonus payments and conditions associated with such bonus payments are commercial matters and the department has no role in their design.

The minister has communicated with deputy Healy Rae and the IFA to clarify recent commentary regarding the four-movement rule.

Speaking in the Dail on Thursday (February 14), Minister Creed told the Kerry TD:

“A Quality Payment System (QPS) for the payment of bonuses in respect of certain categories of cattle at slaughter plants was introduced in 2009 by agreement between Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

“My understanding is that the conditions attached to qualification for this bonus payment include a limit on the number of movements of cattle in their lifetime prior to slaughter.

This is a purely private arrangement between both parties and my department has no role in its design or implementation.

The Irish factory Quality Payment System (QPS) penalises more than four movements of livestock between farms prior to slaughter.

At the time the IFA responded to the minister’s comments claiming that his choice of words was “highly misleading” and “incorrect”.

In a statement, the IFA said that the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) – which penalises farmers if livestock is moved between farms more than four times prior to slaughter – was a “public matter”, and had been debated in the Dail when it was introduced.

“The QPS was introduced in 2009 in order to reward farmers for producing quality.

“This moved away from the old flat pricing structure and is based on scientific research by Teagasc,” the association said.

The IFA’s statement added that there was a “fully open, robust and lengthy discussion” about the QPS prior to its implementation.