Over 350 farmers gathered in the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris, Co. Mayo last night, to have their opinions heard on the €100m Brexit Beef Fund.
The Irish Farmers Association hosted an information meeting to update attendees and answer questions on the distribution of the funding.
Farmers travelled from as far as Sligo and Galway to attend the meeting.
Padraic Joyce - IFA Connaught Regional Chairman - spoke about the importance of the suckler farms in the West of Ireland while IFA Director of Livestock, Kevin Kinsella addressed the crowd by highlighting the losses that were incurred by farmers over the last number of years.
He also advised the public on how the submission was presented to the EU commission and explained some of the facts that were submitted.
Total incurred losses from 2018 Sept-Dec to 2019 Jan- Mar
- Steers €27,682,422
- Heifers €22,341,972
- Young Bulls €15,309,933
- Cows €31,774,137
National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods said, “we have a targeted support of €200 per suckler cow, it is still an aim that we are striving towards in terms of a Brexit scenario."
It was also made clear to the attendees that the minister will have the last say on the matter of the €100m and the IFA will do everything in their power to support the farmers; however, they do not have the final word.
The EU commission will be publishing their first draft regulation on Thursday, (June 6th).
IFA key principle guidelines on the division of funding;
- The money for beef farmers must be paid to beef farmers - not for the factories, factory-owned cattle, agents or dealers
- Targeted to farmers who incurred the losses and the sectors who need it most in terms of income
- Farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last autumn and suckler farmers – prime cattle includes steers, heifers and young bulls
- Paid out quickly and directly to farmers
- Finished cattle sold at the marts must be included
- DAFM has all the data on the AIMs system to enable accurate targeting of funds.
Many farmers spoke about their individual concerns, with one farmer stating that “the suckler farmers are being ignored by calling it a beef fund” and another suggesting that “you (the IFA) are creating a division between suckler farmers and beef finishers.
There was a general concern amongst the attendees that a majority portion of the payments would go to the larger farmers, however, a suggestion of capped payment was put to the floor. It was met with some scepticism.
The meetings will continue across the country this week, with the details as follows;
|Wed June 5th||Kilkenny – Newpark Hotel|
|Mon June 10th||Tullamore – Tullamore Court Hotel|
|Tue June 11th||Carrickmacross – Nuremore Hotel|
|Wed June 12th||Macroom – Riverside Park Hotel|
|Fri June 14th||Roscommon – Abbey Hotel|
|Mon June 17th||Limerick – South Court Hotel|
|Thu June 20th||Letterkenny – Clanree Hotel|