Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Sheepmen issue election threat to government parties

Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney

THE GOVERNMENT parties face an electoral backlash next Friday from the country's 30,000 sheep farmers unless Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney resolves the Sheep Grassland Scheme problem, the IFA has warned.

IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the association had written to Minister Coveney reminding him that in previous meetings he clearly accepted that there is a real problem for sheep farmers with his CAP proposal to subsume the Sheep Grassland Payment into the Single Farm Payment.

"IFA has made it very clear to the Minister that sheep farmers are expecting an announcement on a solution to the Grassland issue before the elections," said Mr Lynskey.

"Government MEPs and local election candidates are promising farmers that the Sheep Grassland issue will be resolved, but time is fast running out and the Minister needs to make an immediate and positive announcement on the issue. Sheep farmers deserve clarity. Decision time has now arrived for Minister Coveney," said Mr Lynskey.

"In front of a crowd of over 500 sheep farmers at the Teagasc Sheep Conference in Athlone earlier this year, the Minister made a clear commitment that he would sort out the sheep grassland problem. Sheep farmers are expecting Minister Coveney will honour his commitment".

The IFA has called for total funding under the Sheep Grassland Scheme to be restored to the original €18m and is also looking for assurances that payments for sheep farmers will be protected.

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