Brendan Smith urges Taoiseach to provide government aid to crisis-hit pigmeat sector

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has appealed to An Taoiseach to provide Government aid to the pigmeat sector, which is enduring a ‘very serious crisis’, the deputy stated.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “This sector is suffering huge losses at present, which threatens the viability of some pig units and farms throughout the country. A number of factors are contributing to these difficulties. First, during Covid-19, there were staff shortages, which led to a backlog in processing. 

“Brexit has impacted very severely the value and volume of pig meat exports to Britain, which is our most valued and valuable market. Exports are down 50% since the beginning of last year. There is input price inflation and, of course, pig units are one of the highest users of direct energy in Irish agriculture. There are also other increased input costs.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “The sector is worth €1 billion to the economy on an annual basis and is the third-largest sector within agriculture. The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Poland and Slovenia have introduced direct aid to pig producers and for the sector. We need the same level of direct aid to the sector immediately or there will be casualties and huge losses incurred by it, which will threaten the viability of many units. I appeal to the Taoiseach and the Ministers for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure a proper and adequate aid package is put in place as a matter of extreme urgency.”

In response, An Taoiseach stated: “I will talk to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy McConalogue, about the pigmeat sector. I will also talk to the European Commission but I will talk to the Minister in the first instance. It is under huge pressure because of the wider issues pertaining to costs, input costs and so on. I will come back to the Deputy on that.”