Ireland gets €11m from new EU farm aid package
Farm bodies call on Minister to match funding as milk suppliers take another hit
IRELAND has been allocated €11m from the latest EU farm aid package which contains measures to curb milk production.
But while some countries - including France and Germany - have been pressing strongly for milk supply controls, the bulk of the €500m package announced yesterday will be allocated to individual countries to put their own relief measures in place.
Ireland will get €11.1m from the package which is mainly focused on milk producers - but there is also scope to assist other livestock sectors.
The aid deal comes as Irish dairy farmers are facing a €3m hit due to a significant drop in milk protein levels through June. Milk prices remain in the low 20c/l range.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said the two-pronged approach to dealing with the milk price was important as Irish officials had vigorously contested moves to link the aid package solely to milk supply control measures.
"We did not want the package to be focused exclusively on production discipline, although there were strong demands for that from member states," said Mr Creed.
"I think it is important recalling that over 40 years quotas didn't serve us well," he said, pointing out the price collapse in 2009 occurred despite quotas. "Quotas are themselves not an insulation against market forces."
He said the flexibility built into the aid package would allow the Department of Agriculture provide relief to farmers suffering cash flow issues.