Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD has called on Minister Michael Creed to immediately reverse his approach regarding linear cuts to the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) suckler scheme.

Deputy McConalogue said, “The Minister informed my parliamentary colleague Deputy Eugene Murphy this week in the Dáil that there would be a linear cut to BEEP payments if the programme was oversubscribed.

“These comments will gravely concern tens of thousands of suckler farmers who were considering signing up to the scheme. This is totally unacceptable for hard pressed farmers who were promised a payment of up to €40 per calf as part of the Budget 2019 announcement.

“Given how beef prices are currently depressed, combined with a potential no deal Brexit, which poses a grave threat to the sector; the Minister should be doing everything within his power to give certainty to suckler farmers for this pilot scheme. Instead, he is talking down and diluting this new €20million pilot which was announced in the Budget last year.

“The Minister must at once provide certainty for farmers applying to this pilot and reassure farmers there will be no diminution to payments which were originally promised. He must also commit to working towards a €200 suckler cow payment and not put any further road blocks in its path,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.