EU Commission measures do not go far enough in supporting agri-sector and farmers – Smith

-Urgent need for Minister to go back to Europe for a better deal-

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says the Minister for Agriculture must engage with his European counterparts to secure a better deal from the European Commission for the Irish agri-sector and Irish farmers.

 Deputy Smith explained, “There are some parts of the announcement which are welcome. However, the €80m figure reported for ‘Aids to Private Storage Schemes’ (APS) for dairy and meat products needs to be increased substantially.

 “I have raised my concerns with the Minister through a series of parliamentary questions on these issues. It is imperative a robust fund is introduced for APS schemes, otherwise we risk losing quality dairy and beef products produced by our hard-working farmers.

 “I do welcome the market support flexibilities and a derogation from EU Competition rules. This will give some flexibility to farmers who are trying to continue running their farms and livelihoods while adhering to the public health guidelines during this unprecedented public health emergency.

 “I know from worried beef farmers in Cavan-Monaghan just how much uncertainty is out there in the sector. Beef prices have reduced to €3.40 per Kg. It is unsustainable.

“While elements of this plan from the European Commission are welcome Minister Creed needs to seek further engagement with his European peers for a much improved deal for Irish farmers,” concluded Deputy Smith.