Calls to ‘revisit’ exclusion of sheep sector from Brexit reserve fund

MINISTER for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, has been asked to review a decision taken over recent weeks to exclude the sheep farming sector from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

East Galway Independent TD, Seán Canney, has called on the Agriculture Minister and Government to ‘revisit’ the issue of sheep farmers and the BAR fund.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, also said that a mistake had been made in terms of excluding the sheep sector from the BAR funding.

“I think that there is no doubt whatsoever that Brexit had a major impact in terms of New Zealand lamb exports flooding the UK market.

“The knock-on affect of that on Irish sheep farmers was a serious fall-back on lamb and hogget prices through the early months of this year.

“There are now serious concerns that the farmers who buy in store lambs through the early autumn period will just pull out of this market after getting such a scalding over the past six months or so,” said Stephen Canavan.

According to Deputy Seán Canney, all of the Regional Group of TDs are backing the move to get the Government to have another look at the use of the BAR fund for the sheep sector.

“The evidence that sheep farming was affected by Brexit is strong and the decision not to support people in this sector needs to be reversed immediately.

“Brexit negotiations began in June 2016 and caused turmoil in the sheep trade as it weakened the currency making UK lamb far more competitive.

“The notion or threat of ‘a no deal ‘ in Brexit caused the price of sheep to fluctuate repeatedly in the trade and resulted in lambs selling for an estimated €30-€50 lower per head each year during the entire Brexit process,” said Deputy Canney.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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