Immediate EU support needed for Irish Agriculture – Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says the government should be doing everything it can to work with our European neighbours to ensure the EU Commissioner for Agriculture acts decisively in supporting the sector during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Deputy Smith said, “It is very disappointing that Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski did not announce the deployment of immediate market support measures and emergency aid funding for vulnerable farm sectors last week.

“As the Agricultural Commissioner, it is incumbent on him and his officials in the EU Commission to immediately implement support measures that fall under their exclusive competence as provided for under the CAP’s Common Market Organisation Regulation. These measures cover market disturbance funding, and exceptional aid measures under Articles 219 & 221.

“Alarmingly, the Commission made no announcement on opening up market support tools i.e. intervention and aid for private storage, to provide price supports in sectors such as dairy and beef.

“I would echo the calls made by several countries for maximum flexibility in farm schemes by the EU Commission, given that the pandemic is a force majeure event. This includes the simplification of procedures and derogations from non-essential inspection requirements. It is also vital that that the timely transport of food products and live animals is maintained at this critical time throughout the EU.

 “Farmers in Cavan-Monaghan have continued and will continue to ensure the viability of the supply chain. They will remain farming, working hard in these difficult circumstances and contributing to their country during this time. European authorities need to stop procrastinating, act decisively and show solidarity with the primary producer and the agri-food sector,” concluded Deputy Smith.