Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has called on the Agriculture Minister to outline the measures he plans on taking to alleviate the pressure on beef farmers.

Suckler farmers have seen prices plummet over the past year, and with the threat of a no-deal Brexit becoming an ever increasing possibility, many are concerned about their ability to remain viable.

Senator Gallagher raised the issue in the Seanad this week.

“This is a very serious issue in rural Ireland. There is an oversupply of beef, combined with a drop off in prices and this is leading to a crisis of confidence throughout the sector. The slump in cattle prices before Christmas has continued into 2019, with many factories quoting unchanged prices. Farmers are struggling to have stock killed, with many having to wait weeks. Ultimately, the prices achieved are unsustainable”, said Senator Gallagher.

“Things are deteriorating month on month and there is no end in sight.  Despite the incredible pressure farmers are under, the government is failing to acknowledge the situation.  Farmers are now extremely concerned about Brexit, and how a possible no-deal scenario could compound an already dire situation.  Unfortunately, Minister Creed has failed to come up with any tangible solutions.

“We need to know what plan the government has to support all of the farmers who have invested so heavily in their stock, their livelihoods and those of their families.  We also need to hear more details about the aid packages that will be available from Brussels in the event of a hard Brexit.

“Farmers are under severe pressure and their stress levels are extremely high. They need the government to provide clarity for beef producers.  I am calling on Minister Creed to outline what he and his government intends to do to protect beef farmers and ensure their viability in the difficult weeks and months ahead”.