A Budget push for a sheep ‘booster’

GALWAY farm leaders are ‘reasonably optimistic’ that next week’s Budget 2024 will include a much-improved ewe payment in the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

The payment currently stands at €12 per ewe with the IFA seeking to have this increased to €30 which would be a major boost to farmers across the Western Seaboard counties.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that they had pressed ‘their case’ strongly on the Sheep Welfare Scheme in meetings last week with local TDs and senators.

Stephen Canavan said that the meeting in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin, on Wednesday, September 27 last, was attended by Galway West’s Independent TD, Noel Grealish and FG Senator, Seán Kyne, while from East Galway, there was a ‘full house’ with Seán Canney TD (Ind.), Anne Rabbitte TD (FF), Ciaran Cannon (FG) and Sen. Ashling Dolan (FG) all present.

“From our point of view here in Galway, and indeed across the West of Ireland, the ‘big ask’ is for a significant increase in the Sheep Welfare payments.

“We feel that we have made a very strong case on this issue but what we don’t want is a token increase of €2 to €3 per ewe – we want the payment increased to €30 or very close to it.

“I am reasonably optimistic that given the reactions we have received both last week and earlier this year, there will be a positive response on this from the Minister for Agriculture and the Government,” said Stephen Canavan.

He added that as regards the old Suckler Cow Scheme – now the National Beef Welfare Scheme (NBWS) – the costs to farmers for testing animals for IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) – essentially wiped out the €300 payment they would be receiving under that part of the scheme.

Stephen Canavan said that the IBR (a respiratory virus which can lead to pneumonia) testing was not an effective way of dealing with the problem – farmers would be far happier if the emphasis was on vaccination.

Pictured: Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan


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