Exporters have been “holding back” in spite of the offer of a ship with capacity for 4,000 calves, having a “detrimental effect on calf prices”, according to deputy Pat Deering.

The Fine Gael TD, who is also chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has said:

“The Purcell Brothers has offered a ship with capacity for 4,000 calves which will also offer lairage facility – but the exporters have been holding back, thus having a detrimental effect on the prices of calves and diary stock.”

In response to Fianna Fail spokesperson for agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s criticism of the Government yesterday, deputy Deering said:

It’s amazing that the Fianna Fail spokesperson on agriculture has not encouraged exporters to use this service so that farmers can get the advantage of the facility that is being offered.

“Fianna Fail’s only agriculture policy seems to be to criticise the minister and we see that yet again this week, even though extra lairage space has been secured in Cherbourg.

“Charlie McConalogue seems to be missing the point of the work the Department of Agriculture is doing and how it fits into the export process. Exporters need to work together here and be honest with farmers.”

Deputy Deering added: “I would advise deputy McConalogue to brush up on how the supply chain works, or maybe reveal to us Fianna Fail’s big plan for dealing with challenges in Irish agriculture.”

He also described Fianna Fail’s response to the Government’s Brexit policies as being “disappointing”.

The Co. Carlow deputy claimed that Fianna Fail’s response to Brexit has been to “consistently criticise” the Government’s plans.

“The ill-judged comments employed by [Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit] Lisa Chambers now seems to be spreading to other members of the Fianna Fail front bench,” argued deputy Deering.

Deering concluded by accusing Fianna Fail of offering “populist criticisms with no solutions”.