Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association beef chairman Edmund Graham has welcomed news that a Brexit package for beef farmers worth €100 million is due to be formally announced today (Thursday).
"ICSA met Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels in April and he committed to asking the EU budget commissioner for Brexit funds. We also lobbied Minister Creed repeatedly over recent months to outline the urgency of a payment to the beef farming sector," he stated.
"This will be an important boost to a sector that has absolutely been hammered. ICSA analysis had shown that Brexit was costing beef farmers up to €4 million per week on the prime cattle kill and we strongly argued that these losses could not be carried."
"There will be some conditions attached to this and we await the detail on this. However, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of the minister and his officials and also the work of Commissioner Hogan in extracting €50 million exceptional funds from Commissioner Oettinger. The other €50 million is to be co-funded by the exchequer."
IFA president, Joe Healy, said confirmation that the EU Commission has agreed a Brexit beef package of €50m for Irish beef farmers means the Irish Government is expected to provide matching funding of €50m, bringing the total package to €100m.
Mr Healy said he spoke directly to Commissioner Hogan last evening and they met in Brussels on Monday in relation to the proposal IFA had put to the EU Commission and the Department of Agriculture in April, seeking a direct aid package of €100m to cover Brexit beef price cuts.
“Beef farmers have suffered savage price losses due to Brexit uncertainty and it is a welcome development that the EU Commission has recognised this and responded to the IFA proposal,” he said
IFA National Livestock chairman, Angus Woods, said that while the finer details of the scheme had to be finalised, it was vital that every cent goes directly to farmers.
Angus Woods is in Brussels tomorrow where he is due to meet with EU Commission officials and members of Commissioner Hogan’s cabinet to work through some of the details on the aid package.