Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said Fianna Fáil are committed to supporting Irish farmers and ensuring they receive a fair price for their suckler cows.
Deputy Smith was commenting as Fianna Fáil outlined its policy for creating a sustainable agricultural sector. The Party manifesto recognises the challenges faced by the sector and sets out a number of policies to protect and enhance it.
“Poor leadership and a lack of action has led to the crisis the farming community finds itself in. In March 2018, Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion to address the beef crisis. In it we set out a number of steps the Government could take to address the problem.
“Fast forward to September 2019 and following a number of factory gate protests, Fine Gael sat down with farmers and agreed on a number of measures, most of which were contained in the Fianna Fáil motion. The proposals we outlined then would have gone some way to helping the farmers who are on their knees now – but they were ignored by Fine Gael.
“Fianna Fáil will continue to put farmers best interests to the fore. We will deliver policies that will protect the 137,500 family farms across the country and secure a fair price for the primary producer. We will protect Ireland’s interests in CAP negotiations, work to ensure farming is a viable business and develop new market opportunities.
“While the Government keeps referring to 2030 and 2040 as their target for solutions we want to deliver change now. In the next five years we will seek to amend EU rules to provide greater supports for the sector. We will expand farm assist and increase areas of Natural Constraints and biodiversity payments.
“We want to ensure a suckler cow payment of €200 per head and get access to international markets. We will support tillage, organic and horticulture farmers and create a sustainable forestry sector. We will also secure Ireland’s place as the global leader in the Equine industry.
“Farmers in Counties Cavan and Monaghan have experienced some of the worst years in the industry. These are largely the fault of the Minister for Agriculture and Fine Gael in their hands-off approach. It is clear we need a change,” concluded Deputy Smith.