Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has welcomed support for his party’s motion to secure better supports for suckler farmers. The motion called for a €200 payment policy per suckler cow in a bid to provide essential support to the sector and the rural communities which rely on it.
It also demanded a review of the current underspend across several 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) schemes and to design a roadmap to use this money for the suckler sector and other vulnerable areas.Deputy McConalogue commented, “I am extremely heartened by the support which this motion generated. Rural TDs are all too familiar with the seriousness of the suckler situation and the massive pressure which farmers are finding themselves under.
Despite this, Fine Gael has continued to ignore calls from farmers, farming organisations and The Farmers Journal, which has been to the fore with its Save our Sucklers campaign.
“I hope that this motion has acted as a catalyst for the government to move on this issue. I welcome the fact that Minister Creed has not opposed it, but what we need now is action.
“The suckler sector provides a livelihood for around 70,000 farm families and it underpins our €2.5bn beef export sector. Doing nothing is simply not an option.
“Minister Creed needs to step up to the mark now and ensure that a review of the departmental underspend is established and that it reports back within the two month timeframe set out in our motion. Delivery on the €200 payment per suckler cow must also be progressed as a matter of urgency. Fine Gael has turned a blind eye to the lack of supports for suckler farmers for too long. We need to protect this industry, particularly with Brexit coming down the line and the possibility of a Mercosur deal expected in the coming months.
“The government cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer and I am urging Minister Creed to act promptly to protect this vital sector”.