Colm O’Donnell, president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA), has called on Minister Creed to protect all farmers.
"The Minister must also ensure that not a single one of them goes to the wall as a result of the emergency measures introduced by Government in an effort to keep ahead of the Covid-19 virus.”
In a statement, Mr O’Donnell paid tribute to the Government’s approach and welcomed the actions being taken by the Department of Agriculture to help farmers through these unprecedented times.
He is, however, worried about the financial risk that the closure of marts will have and what will be done to make sure farmers do not suffer any further.
“The closure of all livestock marts is a concrete example of market disturbance for the primary producers of suckler beef and lamb, as alternative outlets carry a high level of financial risk.”
“Farmers may be forced to ride the storm and carry additional livestock for several weeks or months. This is why the Minister must act swiftly to ensure any extra costs and animal welfare concerns are catered for immediately.”
“The INHFA has outlined to the Minister that Article 219 of EU Commission Regulation (1308/2013) exists and makes provision for emergency urgency procedures to deal with unforeseen market disturbance. This must be enacted quickly to deal effectively and efficiently with such events." the farm leader added.
The INHFA president has now called on Minister Creed to pursue this course of action when meeting with the EU Commission. He believes this is a matter of urgency and provisions are needed.
"A direct payment without conditionality must be secured to include all primary producers of beef, lamb and dairy. This will provide immediate financial support and ensure that the first link in the food supply chain remains intact and lets us as farmers keep producing safe, healthy, nutritious food for all the citizens of our nation," he concluded.