Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary and Spokesperson on Horticulture & Food Jackie Cahill has slammed a new support package for farmers announced by the European Commission as completely out of touch.
Deputy Cahill says the funding announced is only a drop in the ocean of what is needed and is calling on the Agriculture Minister to ensure that the package is revised.
“Irish farmers are playing a very important role during the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring that the supply of high quality produce is maintained so that supermarket shelves can remain stocked and people have access to essentials like meat, vegetables, eggs and dairy produce”, he said.
“These are challenging times for farmers, and the situation has been exacerbated by the public health pandemic. There is very worrying speculation across Europe about the possibility of food shortages with the food chain so disrupted.
“Food storage is one of the ways that this could be prevented and it would alleviate the demand pressure further down the line. The €80m package is nowhere near what is needed.
“I am also frustrated at the fact that there were no market disturbance aid measures announced as part of this scheme. Farmers here – particularly in the beef sector – were already under pressure, long before the COVID-19 crisis emerged.
“Our food producers need to be protected and supported, and we need to ensure that all options are explored both nationally and in Europe. The Common Agricultural Policy was designed to create value for money and safe food for the consumer through price supports for the primary producer. This must remain the case in these turbulent times.
“Minister Creed must stand up for Irish farmers – this announcement will do nothing to help our food producers. He needs to pursue these issues so that Irish farmers can continue to produce world class produce during this difficult period”.