Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and Community Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív TD has said that the government’s decision to hold a debate on March 5th to discuss the ongoing dairy crisis engulfing Irish farmers is long overdue. However Deputy Ó Cuív has said the debate is coming too late as farmers are facing a super levy fine of up to €100 million on 1st April 2015.
Speaking on the matter Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The government’s decision to hold a debate on the dairy crisis is long overdue. However Irish dairy farmers are already at crisis point due to the €100 million super levy that is due to be imposed on them. Minister Coveney has displayed a total inability to get any reduction of this fine despite calls from across the farming sector to do so. It is staggering to think that Irish farmers face such a crippling levy despite the fact that the total quota for across Europe is way under target.
“Since coming to office Minister Coveney has been encouraging Irish farmers to increase production and invest heavily in dairy production. Throughout last year I warned the Minister of the consequences that would occur if people got involved in high cost expansions on borrowed money. Unfortunately the Minister was bullish in his certainty that milk prices would remain high and he insisted that there were no downside risks to his plans.
“Unfortunately the concerns that I raised have materialised sooner than I expected. The collapse in milk prices means that it is even more imperative that dairy farmers are spared the imposition of a €100 million super levy on valuable milk production. I call on the Minister to act decisively to ensure that this fine does not come to pass” said Deputy Ó Cuív.