Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Michael Moynihan TD has said the Milk quota for Ireland is hampering significant growth opportunities for the Irish agriculture sector with farmers now forced to destroy dairy cows due to oversupply.

Deputy Moynihan said: “We’re in a farcical situation now.  Some countries in the EU will be below quota this year, the EU as a whole will be below quota, there’s some suggestion our nearest neighbours the UK might be 20% below quota yet Irish farmers are being forced to send cows for slaughter because we’re in danger of being over our milk quota.

“The Minister for Agriculture should immediately raise this issue with his counterparts in Europe.  It doesn’t make any sense for the EU to be below quota and for Ireland to be locked out of a global market beyond the EU that is crying out for our top-class dairy produce.  I am calling for a derogation that would allow Ireland to go over quota this year, supply more milk to the EU and sell to other international markets.

Deputy Moynihan said: “I know of cases where farmers with perfectly good cows, ripe for producing milk because of the largely good season we’ve had this year, now sending their cows for slaughter.

“The fact is there is a global market seeking this product and Ireland is producing it but can’t sell it.  Ireland is even prevented from putting in place a ‘local agreement’ with the UK, with whom we share a land boarder.  Putting in place a derogation makes sense not just for Ireland but for the EU as a whole.

“Irish dairy is demand.  There is ample supply and we’re being blocked from taking advantage of this much needed growth opportunity for farmers and the agriculture sector.  This does not make economic sense and I am urging the Government to take this matter seriously and seek to have it addressed as soon as possible,” concluded Deputy Moynihan.