The INHFA have outlined major miss-giving’s on the EU Commissions draft implementation regulation for support to our Beef industry following the ongoing uncertainty as a result of Brexit. In describing the proposals as totally unacceptable National President Colm O’Donnell stated “how it is shameful that an Irish Commissioner and his team of officials which has a sizeable Irish influence would put forward a proposal that targets our suckler farmers in the poorer regions who, are supplying the most public goods in terms of biodiversity and nature conservation and giving vital support to our local co-ops and feed merchants .”
These proposals outline the need for ‘measures aimed at production reduction and restructuring of its beef and veal industry,’ which it states ‘is concentrated in small-scale holdings in poorer regions of the country.’ There is also accommodation made to allow for the pay-out of any monies through the Meat Processors and the possibility that payments to suckler farmers in Pillar 2 could end up being conditional on reducing their stock numbers.
As it stands continued O’Donnell “the proposed €50m being offered by Europe is nothing more than a bribe to give up our suckler industry similar to the 30 pieces of silver offered to Judas. Of course the betrayal by Judas is not the only thing that is ironic in this episode. 2,000 years ago we saw Barabbas the real villain of the peace walk free, something similar to what is happening in our farming industry today.”
Our Irish Commissioner he added “wants to wipe out suckler farmers in what he terms the poorer regions. While in this draft proposal he didn’t specify a geographical area but based on his previous comments it would indicate he is referring to our western seaboard and many parts of the midlands. These suckler cows which contribute over €750m per year across 66,000 families in areas of the country where other types of economic activity is limited, he wants to replace with trees. But sadly as these trees grow communities will die which is why this fight is not just about farmers.”
This stated the farmer’s leader “is a fight to keep our local Cooperatives, Hardware/Feed Merchants, rural shops and post offices open. It’s a fight to maintain our schools and other services. It’s a fight to keep our GAA, soccer and other sports clubs going. It’s a fight for our youth to ensure the place they now call home will always be there for them. It’s a fight for those of us that are getting older to know that whatever uncertainty this brings; we can face it in our community with our families by our side. It’s a fight to be able to pass on a way of life that we cherish to future generations.”
He concluded by challenging our elected representatives to resist any proposal to cut suckler cow numbers even if that means refusing the €50m pieces of silver.