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IFA President Joe Healy said the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must maintain maximum political pressure at all levels to secure a €100m Brexit aid package for beef losses.

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IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell said that Minister of State for Older People Jim Daly must retrospectively apply the three-year cap on productive farm assets to July 2018, when Cabinet approved the proposal.

“It is encouraging that the Heads of Bill are expected to be drafted by the end of May.  However, this is nearly a year after Minister Daly promised that the Heads of Bill would be brought before the Oireachtas,” she said.

Caroline Farrell pointed out that this means the Nursing Home Support Scheme legislation will not be amended until the end of the year, at the earliest, and won’t be operational until at least mid- 2020.

“This is nearly five years after the Government gave a commitment to introduce changes as soon as practicable to remove discrimination against family farms and small business under the Fair Deal scheme”, said Mrs. Farrell.

“The Government must honour their commitment and retrospectively apply the three-year cap to July 2018 when it was approved by Cabinet.”

She said that the Heads of Bill must guarantee that the three-year cap also applies to farms that are currently leased, but where a family successor gives a verified commitment that they would continue to farm the asset, for a period of six years.

Speaking ahead of the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit in Galway this evening, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to come clean and tell beef farmers how much he is seeking from Government and the EU to compensate beef farmers for the Brexit beef price cuts they have incurred since last autumn.

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IFA President Joe Healy said the Government’s decision to proceed with the National Broadband Plan was an important development for rural Ireland.

Mr Healy said, “Broadband is an essential tool for the business of farming, accessing health and education, bridging the digital divide and the development of vibrant communities. Farm families and rural businesses require access to a fibre broadband service that makes their lives better and lowers the cost of doing business”.

Joe Healy said, “There is only one chance to get this right and given the scale of investment by taxpayers, the focus MUST be laser like to ensure value for money”.

“I believe the roll out plans should have a parallel process for starting at the most rural edges of the network to ensure that those most underserved receive it quickly. The overall completion timeframe which has already been extended to seven years must be delivered on.

IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan said that the brutality shown towards calves in Cherbourg by an individual was despicable.  It was as upsetting for farmers as for everybody else.

He said, “Live exports are extremely important for Irish agriculture. They are highly regulated by the Department of Agriculture to ensure animal comfort, which is exactly as it should be. While this incident occurred in Cherbourg, France they were Irish calves. Irish farmers are outraged to see any animal being treated so badly”.

“We understand that the individual in question has been arrested. He should be subject to the full rigours of the law because his actions were wrong and totally unacceptable,” he said.

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