Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has called on the government to clarify the supports they intend to provide to members of the farming community across Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and south Donegal in his contribution to the Fianna Fail motion seeking action on the Beef Crisis in the Dáil on Wednesday night.

Deputy Mac Sharry said “Article 39.1(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states the EU seek to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture. 

He then put it up to Minister Creed & Fine Gael, “What are we doing to achieve that? From the thousands of farmers I have spoken to I fail to see what is being done to support them. Farming families must have the opportunity to recover the cost of production plus a margin for their products.

“We have 14 policy actions which we believe the Government must accept immediately. These include seeking market disturbance aid from the EU as pertained under CAP; opening the Brexit Loan Scheme for farmers; increasing live exports of calves by enhancing lairage capacity; ensuring that the next CAP is fully funded to provide a €200 suckler cow payment as well as the introduction of a beef market index. 

“We must also seek to weed out BSE era restrictions now obsolete but which continue to apply such as the arbitrary 4 movement rule, the 30 month rule and anti competitive practices by large factories with feed lots. The introduction of a Food Ombudsman or Meat Regulator should be considered to ensure fair play in the industry.

“We are also calling for a full review of the QPS grid and more robust measures around carcase trim and grading, including publishing details of on-the-spot fines for factories breaching carcase trimming rules. It is also my party’s view that a new independent authority is required to enforce the new EU Directive on unfair trading practices to ensure farmers buy in.

“In addition why has there been no mention of market supports or preparedness for the introduction of an intervention scheme or APS (Aid to Private Storage ) scheme to ensure farming families are guaranteed a fair market price should a hard Brexit shut the market down. The Minister for Agriculture must listen to those stakeholders in the industry who need our support,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.