‘It simply isn’t there’: Creed pours cold water on calls for suckler payments

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has remained adamant that there will be no sucker cow payments introduced in the upcoming budget – because the money required isn’t available.

Speaking to gathered farmers in Co. Laois tonight (Monday, October 1), the minister again rejected calls for a €200-per-cow suckler payment due to the cost involved in such a scheme.

“I don’t have the budgetary flexibility to deliver €200 million – which is the ask in the context of the suckler cow [payment] in this budget – it just simply isn’t there.

There’s no point sugarcoating that; it just simply isn’t there.

The minister noted that budget negotiations around the broad context of the agricultural sector continue, adding that he had been in talks with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe earlier today.

“But I mean we’ve spoken a lot about sustainability, and we’ve done a lot in terms of that agenda in terms of Beef Data and Genomics [Programme].

We’ve travelled a long way since we decoupled payments. But effectively an ask for a coupled payment is to unwind a lot of the progress that we’ve made.

“I acknowledge, and I have earlier and continue to do so, the challenge that the sector faces.

“There are a number of fora where that will be addressed but the most important forum on that is in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy.”

Minister Creed was guest speaker at Laois Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) county executive meeting, invited by Laois county chairman Francie Gorman.

The minister spoke to AgriLand after the meeting on the decision by a number of farm organisations including the ICMSA, the ICSA and the IFA to abstain from attending the Beef Forum this week.

The forum is a platform for farmers to engage with all other stakeholders and for that reason – the platform will engage on Wednesday – it would be an opportunity missed I think if farmers don’t turn up.

Minister for Justice – and Laois native – Charlie Flanagan also attended the meeting.