Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says the new Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must secure a commitment from the European Commission to postpone payment of super levy fines for 24 months.
Deputy Cahill made the comments following a meeting with members of the Tipperary branch of the IFA. At the meeting it was outlined how the payment of fines is causing serious cash flow issues for dairy farmers. Members pointed out that a postponement of the fines would give them breathing space to get back on their feet.
“Dairy farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their farms viable due to serious cash flow problems. The dairy sector has been going through turmoil in recent years. Milk prices have been falling for 24 months, and this is being compounded by large super levy repayments as a result of the abolition of quotas.
“The new Government needs to step up to the plate and lobby the European Commission on behalf of dairy farmers. The biggest problem that dairy farmers across Europe are facing is a lack of financial certainty. I believe that the payment of the super levy fines should be postponed for at least 24 months to give dairy farmers the breathing space that they need to get back on their feet.
“Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must speak up for dairy farmers and request the European Commission to postpone the payment of super levy fines. European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan also has a role to play here and cannot simply excuse himself from dealing with the problems facing European dairy farmers,” said Deputy Cahill.