Reacting to the draft EU regulation on the €100m Brexit beef fund circulated in Brussels today, IFA President Joe Healy said Minister Creed must reject all conditionality in the draft regulation that does not relate to the actual income losses experienced by beef and suckler farmers.
This draft regulation reflects the preliminary views of the Commission services, it has been sent to Member States for comment and it is not yet the official position of the Commission.
Joe Healy said, “This Brexit beef fund is for retrospective beef price losses that farmers have already incurred. Restructuring is a totally separate matter; it was not mentioned by Commissioner Hogan when the scheme was announced and was not part of the IFA submission on Brexit losses. This aid must not be made conditional on restructuring,” he said.
Joe Healy stressed, “Every cent of this fund must go directly to farmers and under no circumstances can any of it be diverted elsewhere. It would be wrong if the Commission and the Minister were now to embark on a convoluted process to take the good out the scheme by tying it up in knots”.
“The message from farmers is clear that this funding must get to the farmers who have incurred the losses and need it most, as soon as possible,” he said.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said Commissioner Hogan made it clear when the fund was announced that it was “for farmers who had suffered substantial market disturbance and it must be paid out as soon as possible.”
He said IFA is clear that the funding must go to farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last autumn and to suckler farmers.
“IFA has set out six principles as regards how the funding should be allocated. We are currently consulting with our members through regional meetings,” he said.