Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Development, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the Minister for Agriculture to deliver much-needed support for the sheep sector.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta Kerrane raised the matter with the Tánaiste and urged Minister McConalogue to engage with the sector around ongoing concerns.
The call follows a protest by the ICSA and sheep farmers outside the Dáil earlier this week.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“We know that sheep farmers across the state are experiencing real financial hardship.
“I spoke to a number of sheep farmers who were outside the Dáil this week. They came here seeking action from government and to raise awareness about the issues they are facing and to save their sector.
“They have called the €12 a ewe the Minister has delivered ‘an insult’. This paltry €2 increase does not come near to the doubling of the payment to €20 proposed by Sinn Féin.
“It is particularly notable that the ICSA are seeking an emergency package for sheep farmers funded from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
“While Sinn Féin last year welcomed the adoption of our proposal to support the Potato Seed sector through the reserve, aside from that allocation there has been no substantial allocation to date for farmers that amounts to new money.
“This is despite the fact that Ireland’s allocation from the reserve was won off the back of stories from our farming families as to the potential impact of Brexit.
“Sheep farmers are at the cold face dealing with the consequences of Brexit, including the importation of hundreds of thousands of lambs, including NZ lamb, they are seeing every single output cost on their farm rise.
“It comes back to the issue that Farmers are simply not getting a fair price for their produce. They need greater support from government and they need it now.
“I am calling for Minister McConalogue to engage with the ICSA and to secure supports for the sheep sector.”