Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has called on Minister Simon Coveney to negotiate a decrease in the super-levy for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 milk quota years to ease Ireland into the post quota regime.

Deputy Ó Cuív said the Minister needs to negotiate with his EU partners for the super levy fine to be reduced progressively for 2013/14 and 2014/15.

“In view of the abolition of milk quotas in 2015, it is reasonable to ask that a transition period should be established where quota restrictions would be eased and a reduced super-levy would be charged to farmers who have excess production.

“It is farcical to think that Ireland could face a very large super-levy fine in 2013/14 and similarly in 2014/15 and then on the 1st April 2015, there will be no restriction on milk production. This sudden abrupt change in policy will not lead to an orderly transition and it would be much better if this was eased in over a period of time.

“Since the decision has been taken to abolish milk quotas completely in 2015 it is now incumbent on the Minister for Agriculture to negotiate with his colleagues in the EU that there will be an easing of quota restrictions for this year and next.

“This is particularly vital in view of the very hard and difficult two years that farmers have had with very poor weather that lasted until June 2013. It is vital that they are given an opportunity to earn as much money as possible out of all sectors, including the dairy sector to recoup some of these losses.

“Inaction from the Minister or bland statements that he cannot get the agreement of his colleagues is not good enough in view of the crisis faced by Irish farming.”