Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy said his party is prioritising the suckler sector and more than 75,000 farm families nationwide during a Dáil motion tabled last Wednesday under private members time.
“The almost one million suckler cow herd is pivotal to supporting the local economy in rural Ireland with every €1 of support provided to suckler farmers generating over €4 of economic activity in rural parishes,” said Deputy Murphy. “This is particularly important to counties such as Roscommon and Galway.
“While suckler farmers underpin our €2.5 billion beef exports, they generate average incomes below €13,000 each year and are fully dependent on CAP supports to maintain their livelihoods. The suckler sector is facing threats on many fronts with successive Fine Gael led Governments found wanting.
“The Government has refused at every avenue to look at all options to introduce a €200 payment per suckler cow. Fianna Fáil has championed this as a key policy and will continue to campaign for its delivery. Suckler farmers are being let down with the Government accepting at least 70,000 extra tonnes of South American beef into the EU.”
Fianna Fáil’s motion also called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to review the current underspend across several Rural Development Programme schemes and report back to the Oireachtas in two months. Deputy Murphy hopes to target this underspend to suckler and other vulnerable sectors.
With the threat of Brexit looming, the incomes of suckler farmers are facing an uncertain future.
“Fianna Fáil is asking for cross party support for this motion to send a strong message from Dáil Éireann to the Government that these farmers need to be supported,” concluded Deputy Murphy.