‘That time is now’: IFA calls for farmer support package to be unveiled

A “comprehensive support package for farmers” must be immediately brought forward by the Government and the European Commission in light of the impact of Brexit, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

IFA president Joe Healy was reacting to the new report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Department of Finance this morning (Tuesday, March 26) on the impact of Brexit on the Irish economy.

Reacting to the study, detailing different economic scenarios, Healy said even the most benign outcome – which would see a deal reached – will have a significant impact on GDP.

This in turn will have the biggest impact on the farming and food sector. We have heard that the EU Commission is ready to support Irish farmers. That time is now.

The president underlined that the Irish beef sector has already suffered from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Farmers selling cattle at a base price of €3.75/kg for steers and €3.85/kg for heifers are taking cuts of 20c-25c/kg below last year’s price levels, or reductions of up to €100 per head, he noted.

Farmers selling young bulls have been hit for €200 per head.

Healy said the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed have to make a “very strong case” to the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“We have had constant assurances about solidarity, given our exposure to Brexit. That has to translate into solid support,” he said.