IFA county chairman Séan Conefrey
Longford IFA chief, Séan Conefrey has called on the Taoiseach’s support for the beef and livestock sectors.
Mr Conefrey was speaking after IFA’s AGM which was held last week.
“The suckler cow herd is the backbone of our €3bn beef and livestock sector, and in suckler farming which is vitally important to every rural parish across the country,” he added, before indicating that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed must fully support the suckler herd and appreciate its importance for Irish agriculture and rural Ireland.
“At the IFA AGM, the Taoiseach set it out when he highlighted the importance of the beef sector by stating that without it ‘Ireland would not be Ireland’.
“It is crucial that this expression of support translates into real government measures that make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Mr Conefrey went on to say that it had already been well flagged that the Government was planning to spend an extra €3bn in the next Budget due to the improvement in the national finances.
“This,” he continued, “provides an ideal opportunity for the Government to back up their words of support for the sector”.
Mr Conefrey added, “Minister Creed needs to invest in the suckler herd and tackle the income crisis on livestock farms.
“From our lobbying work with public representatives across the political parties, there is strong support for sucklers and Minister Creed needs to take the lead, harness this political support and turn it into real delivery in the form of additional payment for sucklers.”
Mr Conefrey said there was too much negative talk about the demise of the suckler cow herd. He also acknowledged the “intense income pressure” that suckler farmers were under. “Additional direct support is critical and the suckler herd is well worth investing in as it delivers an immense return across rural areas,” the local IFA chairman added.
“IFA is undertaking further research to quantify the full contribution the Suckler herd is making in the economy in rural areas, and the organisation will continue to campaign and support a strong live export trade that is essential for price competition and market outlets.”