The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering TD, has criticised Fianna Fáil’s cynical attempt to hijack the ongoing IFA and Irish Farmers Journal campaign aimed at seeking a €200 per head suckler cow payment.
Commenting ahead of this week’s Dáil motion tabled by Fianna Fáil, Deputy Deering said: “The IFA and the Irish Farmers Journal have been running a high profile campaign in recent weeks seeking to increase investment in the suckler cow herd.
“Fianna Fáil has now moved to hijack this campaign by tabling a Dáil motion on the matter. Aside from jumping on the bandwagon, they are actually undermining the goals of the campaign.
“The text of the Fianna Fáil motion makes reference to a proposed €200 per suckler payment, however on closer inspection it is clear that Fianna Fáil is intent on using funds already committed to farmers in GLAS and TAMS to fund a €200 suckler cow scheme.
“Fianna Fáil have some neck promising monies already committed to farmers and yet to be spent under these existing programs. It’s a classic case of smoke and mirrors and farmers won’t be fooled.
“Farmers with approvals under TAMS who may be waiting on finance to proceed with their investment will fear that this approval may be threatened by Fianna Fáil’s ill-advised approach to funding a suckler cow scheme.
“Furthermore farmers who must still submit various documentation to fulfil their GLAS obligations will no doubt be concerned that the funds may not be there to meet their payment should Fianna Fáil succeed in targeting the funds earmarked under the RDP.
“Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the correct way to go about supporting the suckler cow sector. Turning farmers against farmers will not achieve anything for the sector going forward.”
Commenting on Government support for the suckler herd the Deputy/Senator continued; “This Government is investing heavily in the suckler herd through the €300 million Beef Data & Genomics Programme. Further supports for suckler farmers through the Basic Payment scheme and the Areas of Natural Constraints scheme provide an average of a €500 payment per suckler cow.
“Fianna Fáil’s record in supporting this sector is questionable at best as they previously halved payments under the suckler cow welfare scheme back in 2008. Promises of €200 per head payments now without any detail in terms of how it will be delivered will ring hollow in suckler farms throughout the country”.
In conclusion, Deputy Deering remarked; “Minister Creed has been very clear in laying out the boundaries within which a suckler cow payment can be delivered. Fianna Fáil’s insistence in ignoring the facts that such a measure can really only be delivered through a linear cut to all basic payments calls into question whether they favour such an approach”.