Fianna Fáil Frontbench Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalougue TD, has welcomed the announcement of a European Commission €50m compensation fund for Irish beef farmers who have suffered severe price losses from the initial hit from Brexit.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “The government must immediately confirm that they will top up the EU fund by the maximum matching amount of €50m to bring it up to €100m.

“While this aid package for those in the beef sector is welcome it is disgraceful that beef farmers have had to go through so much trauma to have their voices heard.

“Any aid package must ensure that the application process is simplified and timely. This follows reports that beef farmers will have to complete a series of actions to draw down funds under the package. The Minister must immediately announce the details of what farmers will have to do to get payments.

“The government has continued to be hands-off and out of touch with the industry. Beef farmers have been losing out in a serious way since last autumn. My Party colleagues and I successfully passed a private members’ motion with 14 policy actions in the Dáil in March to highlight the urgent actions needed to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers’ in the beef sector.

“The motion acted as a key catalyst to put pressure on the government to make an application to the EU for exceptional aid and market disturbance funding as it permitted under CAP.

“The government have remained disinterested and unhelpful to those in the sector.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step. The Minister for Agriculture and his Department must outline the timeline and process for payments asap. This must be the first step,” concluded Deputy McConalogue