Fianna Fáil has warned the Government that beef farmers won’t be “conned by auction politics” on the eve of the European Parliament and local elections.

Charlie McConalogue, the party’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, said: “Beef farmers will not be fooled by the political strokes of Government.”

McConalogue was responding to the likely timeline of the payments for beef farmers under the €100 million aid package. It is understood that payments will commence after a number of months.

The silence has been stunning from Government since the announcement last week and no details published yet on the application process for payments.

“This is despite the Taoiseach saying last week that payments would issue in the next few months,” said the Donegal TD.

“So here we go again, as we saw with the prolonged struggle for tillage and fodder compensation payments in previous years,” he claimed.

McConalogue argued that the Government has “had to be dragged kicking and screaming” to put funds in place for farmers who were “being put to the pin of their collars with severe price losses and adverse weather events”.

He also repeated the point, expressed from all quarters, that it is “paramount that no factory-controlled or factory-owned feedlots are covered by the scheme to be set up”.

Concluding, McConalogue said: “I am calling on the Government to expedite the application and payment process to ensure these funds get to beef farmers who are in dire need of this emergency aid and who have suffered large losses from the initial hit from Brexit.”