Minister Creed welcomes decision to suspend IFA protest

The decision to suspend the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) protest outside the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

An IFA delegation has made the department building its home since last Wednesday, July 5; the protest was just about to enter its seventh night.

Minister Creed confirmed that he had secured approval from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for the outline of a €1.5 million tillage crisis fund – aimed at farmers who lost crops during the difficult harvest last year.

He also confirmed that he was committed to the introduction of this measure at the earliest possible time.

The minister also highlighted his willingness to discuss the detail – with a view to ensuring this support is best targeted at those most impacted – and will facilitate a meeting on Wednesday morning, July 12, at 9:00am.

The grain committee members were protesting over reports that payments under a proposed tillage crisis fund would be capped at a maximum of €5,000 per farmer.

The IFA’s grain committe – alongside the association’s president, Joe Healy – argued a maximum cap of this level was not acceptable.

During previous meetings with the department, the IFA alleged that it was only ever discussed that payments under a proposed scheme would be capped at €15,000 per farmer – the maximum allowed under EU regulations.

The fund would support farmers who suffered significant crop losses last year; it is expected that they would have to prove a minimum crop loss of at least 30% to qualify for the proposed scheme.

Meetings between Minister Creed and IFA representatives will take place throughout tomorrow in the hope that the details of such a scheme can be ironed out.