'Factories won't benefit from €100m beef package, full stop' - Creed

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Factories will not benefit from the €100m Brexit beef package, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has insisted.

Minister Creed has stated that farmers will be the only section to benefit from the beef package which was announced by the European Commission last week.

“Factories won’t benefit, full stop. I’m not aware of any factory that has suffered, I’m aware of farmers and finishers and suckler farmers that have and can assure you the €100m will be for those farmers not factories,” Minister Creed told The Joe Finnegan Show on Shannonside Northern Sound this morning.

“I can assure you we can make it happen that it will be just the farmers who benefit from this, that’s an imperative.

“We’re awaiting from the Commission of the exact terms and conditions. We will then go in to consultation with the industry to make sure we deliver the payments in the most effective way and in particularly just to farmers.”

The Minister added that his “ambition” is that the fund would be made available to farmers at the “earliest possible date” in the autumn.

In reaction to the announcement of the fund, farm organisations said they were adamant that factory-controlled feedlots should not get a payout under the aid package.

ICSA beef chairman, Edmund Graham, said payments to farmers should be completed by the end of July, and warned that any delay until autumn would be unacceptable.

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It is estimated that around 800,000 prime cattle — young bulls, heifers and steers —were killed in the six months from the start of September to the end of March.

While industry sources accept that a straight payment per head of €125 on all prime cattle would be the simplest mechanism for allocating the €100m, farmer representatives say that such an approach would:

■ Direct 20pc of the funds to factory controlled feedlots;

■ Target the bulk of the funds to large-scale finishers;

■ Exclude suckler and store producers from the aid package.

IFA president, Joe Healy, said the allocation of the €100m to the farmers was critically important.

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