As the Deputy is aware, the Irish dairy market, following on from broader EU and International trends, has performed strongly in 2017 and the early months of 2018, following a period of low prices in 2015 and 2016. While the overall dairy sector is now in a much better place overall than it has been in recent years, there is a significant overhang of intervention stocks of skimmed milk powder in the EU .
I remain conscious of the pressure volatility in dairy markets can exert on farmers and I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to utilising all measures at our disposal, including EU market measures such as intervention, aids to private storage and exceptional market measures, as necessary.
Ireland is strongly positioned as a competitive producer of dairy products. It has enviable natural resources, adaptable and resilient producers, a strong international reputation, an effective dairy processing sector and a strong core of research infrastructure and expertise. My Department will continue to work with our partners in the industry to develop measures which can minimise the effects of price volatility in the future and ensure sustainable growth.