The opening of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) compensation fund has “only emphasised the unfairness of the decision” to exclude all dairy herds of more than 40 cows, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Commenting on the matter, ICMSA Livestock Committee chairman Des Morrison said that he had been “inundated by pleas” from dairy farmers who did not satisfy the “unrealistic and arbitrary” limits of the scheme but who had suffered Brexit-related losses often running to thousands of euro.

Morrison said that the farmers concerned had held onto the hope that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed would “revisit this obviously unfair and discriminatory decision”.

However, he added: “With the opening date now upon us, and no announcement yet from the minister announcing that relevant losses in dairy herds over 40 animals would be covered, they are now becoming extremely anxious for the minister to change his mind and include farmers who met perfectly every criteria but worked dairy herds of more than 40 cows.”

Morrison said that, even at this late stage, Minister Creed should revisit the matter and “see how unfair his original decision was”.

“I’d appeal to Minister Creed to go back and have another look at this and admit that he has got this wrong.

You can’t discriminate amongst farmers in this way and I’ll say again that, unless he changes his mind, the minister and his department are standing over an unfair and unjust scheme.

“He should change his mind and do the right thing,” Morrison concluded.