Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to clarify what measures he intends to bring forward to support sheep farmers.
Deputy Kerrane, her party’s spokesperson on Agriculture, said she was echoing calls from farmers’ organisations such as the INHFA, ICSA, and IFA, who have called for urgent financial supports for the sector.
“While the Minister has acknowledged the difficult conditions sheep farmers are experiencing, he has not indicated what, if any, additional supports will be provided to the sector.
“When I queried him on this in the Dáil in May, he stated that his officials are ‘monitoring the sheep market situation’ and that ‘the Government will continue to make every effort to support the sector’”.
The Brexit Adjustment Reserve has been identified as one possible avenue of funding that could be explored.
“It was previously suggested that the Brexit adjustment reserve (BAR), may be an avenue to explore, which the Minister dismissed,” the Sinn Féin TD said.
“The Minister has still not provided detail on what terms were looked at by his Department and where a blockage was found for using the BAR to provide funding for the sheep sector.
“In the last week, there has also been calls from the INHFA for a new €9.5 million package for Ireland from the European Commission to be used to provide financial support for the sheep sector.
“The Minister has not yet clarified how he intends to utilise this package, but Member States are required to notify the Commission how they will allocate the funding. I have now requested that he publish that information as soon as possible”.