Support package for suckler farmers ‘needed to correct imbalance’

The new government has been urged by deputy Matt Carthy to provide for a financial support package for the suckler beef sector.

Commenting, the Sinn Féin spokesperson for agriculture said that the decision to exclude suckler beef farmers from the €50 million beef package “has meant that this cohort of farmers have received no supports in recognition of the challenges they faced as a result of Covid-19”.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD noted, following a parliamentary question on the matter, that the minister’s stated intention that the €50 million beef package would essentially “trickle down” to suckler beef farmers in the autumn “will be of little comfort to farmers who are struggling right now”.

Continuing, deputy Carthy said: “The minister’s response to my question on the rationale for excluding suckler farmers from the emergency beef package is premised on the assumption that existing government schemes, committed pre-Covid, would suffice for the suckler sector.

This is at odds with the realities that suckler farmers are facing.

“The new government has an opportunity to correct this imbalance. It needs to do so by providing a financial support for our suckler sector in recognition of the huge challenges that they are facing.

“Unfortunately, the Programme for Government itself gave little in the way of concrete proposals for supporting our beef industry.

It was light on detail in general and in particular on measures for supporting beef farmers.

“The government can and should go some way to addressing these concerns by immediately committing to providing a package for suckler farmers,” deputy Carthy concluded.