‘Minister must deliver on sheep sector supports’

Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to deliver much-needed support for the sheep sector.

Speaking in the Dáil last week, Deputy Kerrane raised the matter with Tánaiste Micheal Martin and urged the Agriculture Minister to engage with the sector around ongoing concerns.
Deputy Kerrane’s call comes after fresh protests by the ICSA and sheep farmers outside the Dáil last week.

“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 last week. They came here seeking action from Government and to raise awareness about the issues they are facing and to save their sector,” the Sinn Féin TD said.
“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”.

Deputy Kerrane said it was also notable that the ICSA was seeking an emergency package for sheep farmers funded from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, adding that there had been little in the way of substantial allocations for farmers.

“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,” she said.
“Sheep farmers are at the cold face dealing with the consequences of Brexit, including the importation of hundreds of thousands of lambs, including New Zealand lamb, they are seeing every single output cost on their farm rise”.

Kerrane said the issue came back to farmers not receiving a fair price for their produce, adding the sector needs greater support from Government.