Fianna Fail call for separate tillage and livestock crisis funds

Fianna Fail spokesperson on Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue has called on Minister Michael Creed to make a strong case on behalf of Irish tillage farmers in Brussels next week.

Speaking to Agriland, McConalogue said he was truly shocked when the Minister hinted that he was not of mind to call for a specific crisis fund for tillage farmers at the European Union Council of Agriculture Ministers’ meeting Brussels on Monday.

“Ireland has every right to reflect the needs of its tillage farmers to all relevant EU decision makers.

“And next week’s meeting in Brussels represents a key opportunity for Minister Creed in this regard and it’s one which he must fully avail of,” he said.

McConalogue believes that separate support funds must now be established for the livestock and tillage sectors.

“This is the obvious way forward.

“The exceptional aid package was established to meet the needs of all livestock sectors: not just dairy. It is important for the government to commit to the national top up, allowed for under the terms of this scheme

This will bring the funding available up to €22m. But this money should be set aside for livestock farmers only. The issue of providing support funds for tillage farmers is an entirely separate matter.

Fianna Fail has not yet come up with a figure, with regard to the size of fund that will be required to meet the support needs of tillage farmers at the present time.

“This work will be carried out by Teagasc staff over the coming days,” he said.

“But, fundamentally, those farmers who lost crops through no fault of their own must be adequately compensated.

“Tillage farmers have watched their livelihoods disintegrate before their eyes. The price that they are getting for their crops is now substantially below production costs and many are really struggling to stay afloat.

“I have previously called on the Minister to set up an emergency fund to help them out.  This needs to be done as a matter of urgency and should be raised at European level.

“This is an extremely serious situation and warrants discussion at the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting.

“I am urging Minister Creed to stand up for Irish tillage farmers and begin a discussion on an emergency package for these hard-pressed families,” he said.