Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Timmy Dooley has called on the government to take immediate action to avert a crisis in the Irish dairy industry. Deputy Dooley made the comments following a Dáil debate on the challenges facing dairy farmers over the coming years.

Deputy Dooley commented, “From the 1st April 2015 Irish dairy farmers are facing a potential super levy fine of €88 million being imposed by the European Union. This has the potential to bring about financial chaos across the dairy industry which will undoubtedly have an impact on the wider economy. Dairy farmers are still counting the costs of the collapse of milk prices last year and now face another hurdle that will be difficult to overcome.

“To date Minister Simon Coveney has displayed a total inability to get any reduction of this super levy fine despite calls from across the agriculture sector to do so. Since coming to office the Minister has been encouraging Irish dairy farmers to increase production and invest heavily in dairy production. Throughout last year Fianna Fáil warned the Minister of the consequences that would occur if people got involved in high cost expansions on borrowed money. Unfortunately our warnings were ignored by the government.

“It is ridiculous to think that Irish dairy farmers face such an enormous super-levy fine despite the fact that Europe as a whole will be below the quota target. The Minister should be working to build a coalition with other European countries to reduce the massive fine that dairy farmers now face.

“The government also had the opportunity to significantly reduce the super levy fine facing farmers through the implementation of a butterfat adjustment. Unfortunately the government did not pursue this option and instead it has left Irish dairy farmers on the hook for an unfair super levy fine that will cause significant damage to our agriculture industry. The government needs to take immediate action to get a reduction in the super-levy fine facing dairy farmers” said Deputy Dooley.