Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been called on to formally confirm that the Government will match the European Commission’s promised €50 million funding by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

As speculation turns to how the €100 million beef fund will be allocated, the organisation also urged the minister to set out how and when the fund will be distributed.

ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that his association would make a number of observations on how the fund should be distributed.

Commenting, he said: “Firstly, factory feedlots should not qualify for the funding.

While farmer beef prices fell considerably since mid-2018, the reality is that the beef price paid by consumers over that period did not fall proportionately, so somebody along the supply chain has boosted their profits at the expense of farmers.

“In many cases, these factories would have bought cattle off farmers at a prices considerably reduced on previous years and farmers would consider it very unfair to see them receive support on top of that.”

McCormack said that the ICMSA raised the issue in relation to feedlots with Commissioner Hogan, who undertook to examine the objections and “to ensure that fairness is applied to the support package”.

“Secondly, to suggest that only cattle finishers have suffered losses since mid-2018 is simply untrue.

“From calf, weanling and through to stores, prices paid for these animals took a serious hit since 2018 and the support package must recognise this fact and ensure that all such producers are included in the package.

“The ICMSA raised this matter directly both with the commissioner and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the losses have been acknowledged and the support package must be structured to support these farmers as well as cattle finishers,” McCormack concluded.