Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West says farmers are extremely worried that they will not be paid the promised amount for calves under the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) suckler scheme.

It comes following his comments that there would be a linear cut to BEEP payments if the scheme was oversubscribed.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “I have been contacted by a number of farmers who were considering signing up to the scheme, are now very worried that the level of payment originally promised by Minister Creed will not now materialise.  The commitment of up to €40 per calf which was contained in Budget 2019 must be maintained.

“Beef farmers are already struggling to remain viable in the face of falling prices.  The threat of a no deal Brexit is also weighing heavy on their minds – its posing a major threat to the sector as the March 29th deadline grows ever closer without any agreement on a deal.

“Instead of providing support and certainty for farmers, Minister Creed is doing the opposite.  By changing the terms of this €20m pilot scheme, he is eroding confidence.

“The Minister needs to reassure farmers and ensure that there will be no diminution to payments which were originally promised. He must also commit to working towards a €200 suckler cow payment to ease the pressure on beef farmers across Cork and further afield”, concluded Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.