‘Everyone at the ‘Ploughing’ is dependent on the farmer’ – Healy-Rae

The Dáil resumed this week on Tuesday, September 17, the same day that the 2019 National Ploughing Championships kicked off, and, like at the ‘Ploughing’, the beef dispute was one of the main topics for discussion.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae was at both Leinster House and the ‘Ploughing’ site on Tuesday, and said in the Dáil: “Every manufacturer and supplier that was at the championships today is dependent on the farmer.

“We are at a crossroads. I have raised this issue with the minister and Taoiseach since early last year and throughout this year. These farmers cannot continue to operate at a loss. The deal that went through in the past few days is not satisfactory because it is not going to affect the base price,” said the independent TD.

As deputy Fitzmaurice stated, €3.40/kg or €3.60/kg is not good enough. The minister is as good at mathematics as anyone else. It will not work.

During his speech, Healy-Rae called for either changes to, or removal altogether, of the three rules associated with the Quality Payments Scheme – the 30-month rule; the four-movement rule; and the 70-day rule.

“Farmers are trying to stay on their land and continue with their activities but they are not being treated fairly by the factories,” he went on to claim.

The Kerry TD also thanked the farmers on the pickets for having “given their time unselfishly” in order to “highlight the blackguarding of farmers”.

During his Dáil speech, Healy-Rae said that he had spoken to Iran’s ambassador to Ireland, and was asked why Ireland was “not exploring markets for beef in Iran”.

There was much debate in the Dáil during the week on the base price for cattle, and the varying figures that farmers were being offered and could be offered.

Commenting on this on Wednesday, September 18, deputy Healy-Rae said: “There is no mention of €3.60. The figure of €3.40 is the going rate. What farmers really need and want is €4 but they would accept and could live with €3.80. A fortnight ago, they were offered €3.20. That is not fair or right.

“Something better than this deal will have to be put in place to sort this out. I realise people owe money. They want to give money to their children who are going to college but they have bills to pay and need to get money somewhere. The situation is desperate,” the Kerry TD concluded.