Beware of ‘poisoned chalice’ on beef deal

Michael Fitzmaurice: 'Stick their €50 million'.
Michael Fitzmaurice: 'Stick their €50 million'.

THERE has been an angry reaction to moves by the EU Commission to try and attach ‘reduction conditions’ to their Brexit aid package for beef and suckler farmers who have been badly hit by price cuts since last September.

Independent Roscommon-Galway TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, said that with the European and local elections now ‘conveniently concluded’, clauses were appearing that were a ‘kick in the teeth’ to suckler farmers.

“In my opinion, if the Commission isn’t willing to back down on the clause [production reduction] in the beef aid fund, we should tell them to stick the €50 million where the sun doesn’t shine,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He said that just because of the fund was coming from Europe didn’t mean that Ireland had to roll over ‘and do what we are told’.

“The importance of suckler farming in Ireland cannot be under-estimated. There are approximately 34,000 farms involved in suckler farming across Connacht  as well as counties Donegal, Clare and Kerry,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

IFA President, Joe Healy, has called on Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, to reject all conditionality in the draft regulations that does not relate to the actual income losses experienced by beef and suckler farmers.

“This Brexit beef fund is for retrospective beef price losses that farmers have already incurred – restructuring is a totally separate matter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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