“We have all been moved by the pictures of tiny children dying of hunger on the news in the last weeks. Good Irish milk would make a massive difference to these children and their families, literally the difference between life and death.
“I am proposing that dairy farmers nationwide volunteer a day’s production to the relief efforts in Somalia. Some farmers might wish to volunteer two days production, some half a day, depending on their own circumstances in relation to milk quota.’
“This milk could then be processed as whole milk powder and donated through Aid Agencies to the victims of the famine in southern Africa who need it so desperately.
“It makes no sense that Irish farmers who reach their Milk Quota must throw their excess milk away while millions of people are starving or at the brink of starvation in Somalia.
“After being approached by dairy farmers from across Ireland about the scandal of having to throw away good milk while people are starving, I have consulted with many dairy producers and processors alike and found general agreement with this scheme and a great willingness to assist and cooperate wherever possible.
“Any milk donated in this manner will have to be made exempt from the Milk Quota of the milk producers and of Ireland in order to make the milk available for this scheme.’
“This is truly a win-win situation and what they call a ‘no-brainer,’ but it will require the Government to negotiate this exemption for donated milk with the European Union, and the Department of Agriculture will have to put procedures for participating farmers and processors in place as rapidly as possible.
“I have today written to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture to outline this proposal and to request their immediate action on same. I will continue to do everything I can to make this proposal a reality, which would follow the long Irish tradition of generosity and might also inspire other nations to take similar action.”