The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) is calling on Minister Coveney to deliver a support package for the sheep sector.

Speaking after their National Planning meeting INHFA Policy spokesperson Colm O Donnell said the delegates present were very angry with Minister Coveney and indeed other farming lobby groups who signed off on the Rural Development Program without a targeted measure for the sheep sector.

He said a €30m package could deliver the equivalent of €20 per ewe for lowland sheep and €30 per ewe for hill sheep which is the most financially distressed sector in Irish agriculture based on Teagasc figures.

O Donnell added that with costs in the sheep sector continuing to rise while markets remain volatile farmers need to know there is an income stream they can be sure of and this can only be provided with direct supports.

“Any money targeted at the sheep sector will deliver for farmers, the rural communities and the economy as a whole and we hope the minister and his officials recognise this and act on it.”

The INHFA has also said that the current GLAS commonage offering is not adequate for farmers with commonage. It comes as the Minister for Agriculture announced the second tranche of GLAS will open in mid October.