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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Fianna Fáil)
Wednesday 21 February 2018

“That Dáil Éireann:


— the almost one million suckler cow herd kept on over 75,000 farms;

— how the suckler sector is a vital component of Ireland’s rural economy and a wealth enabler, with every €1 of support provided to suckler farmers generating over €4 of economic activity in rural villages, towns and parishes;

— the suckler herd underpins Irish beef exports of €2.5 billion annually;

— that suckler farmers continue to depend exclusively on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct payments for their livelihoods with average incomes just below €13,000, according to Teagasc;

— the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Irish beef herd;

— Brexit poses one of the biggest ever threats to suckler farmers, exporters and beef sector jobs, with over 50 per cent of all beef exports to the UK;

— the ‘Ireland and the Impacts of Brexit’ report prepared for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, which shows a reduction in Irish beef exports of 35 per cent by 2030 in a World Trade Orginization (WTO) tariff scenario;

— how the Beef Forum has become a talking shop and failed to deliver for farmers;

— the ‘Cumulative economic impact of future trade agreements on EU agriculture’ report by the European Commission, which illustrates how additional beef imports from South American Mercosur countries would reduce prices by up to 16 per cent and cost the European Union (EU) beef sector an estimated €5 billion annually;

— that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine underspent its expenditure budget by €106 million in 2016 and €78 million in 2017; and

— the significant underspend across several schemes under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP); and

calls on the Government to:

— deliver a fully funded, fair, and simpler CAP post-2020 that safeguards direct payments with measures to directly support all low-income sectors including sucklers;

— protect suckler farmers and the beef sector in all upcoming EU trade deals and reject increased beef access in any potential agreement with South American Mercosur countries;

— work towards introducing a €200 payment per suckler cow via the current BDGP;

— seek EU recognition of the negative impact of Brexit, and any Mercosur deal on suckler farmers’ incomes, and request funding supports including CAP market disturbance funds, while increasing market diversification supports;

— secure additional funding in the next CAP programme to achieve a suckler cow support payment of €200 per cow; and

— instruct the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine to review the current underspend accruing across several 2014-2020 RDP schemes and report back within two months to the Oireachtas on a roadmap towards targeting RDP underspend to suckler and other vulnerable sectors:-

— such a review to outline the specific progress to date on the participation and expenditure targets set originally for the following schemes over the 2014 - 2020 RDP window:

     — GLAS (Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme): €1.4 billion committed and 50,000 participants targeted (February 2015);

     — BDGP: €300 million committed and 35,000 participants targeted (May 2015);

     — Knowledge Transfer Scheme: €100m committed and 27,000 participants targeted (May 2016);

     — TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes) II: €395 million committed (April 2015);

     — Sheep Welfare Scheme: €100 million committed (December 2016); and

     — Hen Harrier Programme: €25 million committed (December 2017).”

— Charlie McConalogue, Bobby Aylward, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa M. Chambers, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Stephen S. Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Sean Fleming, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Micheál Martin, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O'Dea, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Robert Troy.