Fianna Fáil has reiterated calls on the Government to ensure supports for the beef sector, including ‘mitigation funding’, to offset the impact Brexit is expected to have on farmers.

Charlie McConalogue, the party’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, said that suckler farmers were “at their wits’ end”.

“With prices on the floor and potential armageddon staring them in the face from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the Government must immediately take swift action to safeguard the sector,” insisted the Donegal TD.

Beef farmers have incurred severe losses since last autumn and require direct EU and state assistance now.

Fianna Fáil is proposing 14 ‘policy actions’ – which were passed as a single private member’s motion in the Dáil last month – which include making immediate requests for Brexit mitigation funding for farmers, with “exceptional and market disturbance aid” for the beef sector.

This aid would be sought under the Common Market Organisation Regulation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), highlighted McConalogue.

He also referenced estimates from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), which suggest that beef farmers have already incurred losses in excess of €100 million as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

“The Government cannot continue to ignore farmers in every village and town across the country. They are crying out for supports and they must be provided with such supports,” concluded McConalogue.

‘Continued conversation’

Speaking to AgriLand today, Tuesday, April 30, Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said that talks were continuing with the EU on the challenges in Irish agriculture regarding Brexit.

“What we have been engaged in substantially up to now has been around the ‘crash-out’ Brexit,” the minister highlighted.

He added: “Obviously we are in continuous conversation with the [European] Commission on the broader market difficulties that the sector, particularly beef, faces,” he added.

The minister was at the Dublin offices of Ornua this afternoon, where the company was announcing that Kerrygold has become the first Irish agri-food brand to reach and surpass €1 billion in retail sales value.