IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy and an IFA Sheep Committee delegation had a robust meeting on the Clean Sheep Policy with senior vets in the Department of Agriculture in Backweston today.
Sean Dennehy said IFA made it very clear to the Department that the current overzealous implementation of the Clean Sheep Policy by the Department of Agriculture is totally unacceptable and must change immediately. He said IFA will also raise the issue with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed in Cork tonight.
Sean Dennehy said the changes the Department has made to the implementation of the Clean Sheep Policy over the last two weeks, without consultation, have dragged the policy into disrepute and led to growing disruption of normal selling and processing activity. He said this has created major anger and frustration at farm level.
The IFA sheep farmer leader said the Department must adopt a more practical and realistic approach, taking account of the difficult weather and ground conditions of recent weeks.
The Department agreed to review the unworkable aspects of the current policy and to revert to the IFA by the end of this week.
Sean Dennehy said IFA made it clear that sending sheep home and full shearing are not part of any policy and are totally unacceptable. The Department agreed to review sending sheep home and also made it clear full shearing was not necessary.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said sheep farmers would continue to endeavour to present sheep as clean as possible.
Sean Dennehy said the imposition of charges on farmers by the factories for clipping is also unacceptable. He said farmers have been caught in the firing line and these measures are imposing both costs and labour on the sector.