Creed: 'Coupled payment for suckler cows not the direction we should be going in'

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has signalled that he will not give in to a demand from the IFA for a new €200 payment for suckler cows.

Speaking at a meeting of the Dail Agriculture Committee last night he described the demand as "effectively a coupled payment" and said it is not the direction of travel Ireland should go in the context of our climate change obligations.

"Whatever we do it needs to follow the direction of travel we have being going in terms of the Beef Data and Genomics programme," he said.

However, Minister Creed told members of the committee that he is in the middle of Budget preparations and said he is "aware" of the sector, which some may view as a signal that next Tuesday's Budget may yet see some measures for the sector.

Earlier in the meeting, the Minister said he accepted that there are challenges in the beef sector.

However, he said the extent to which there is a flight from suckler cows in the country can be overstated.

"It's important that we don’t do that. There was always an expectation regarding dairy quotas going that there would be a rebalancing.

"That hasn’t happened to the extent that many experts predicted that it would.

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Minister Creed also highlighted that many suckler farmers on marginal land were beneficiaries of increased ANC payments.

Meanwhile, speaking at the IFA Beef and Suckler campaign meeting in Ballinasloe this week, IFA President Joe Healy said Minister Creed has one week left before the Budget to secure additional support for sucklers.

“Time is fast running out before the Budget for Minister Creed, and it’s vitally important that he delivers for sucklers next week”.

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