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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Fund of €50m on way for beef farmers following support from Europe

The IFA said a €50 million fund from Europe could be matched by a €50m government fund.

Image: Shutterstock/Kraipet Sritong

A FUND OF €50 million to support Irish beef farmers has been agreed upon by the European Commission, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association. 

It comes after the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine submitted an application seeking funding for struggling beef farmers in light of Brexit.

The IFA said the European Commission is expected to announce funding of €50 million which it expects to be matched by a government fund of €50 million, bringing the total amount to €100 million. 

The IFA also submitted proposals for measures that would provide relief.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “As a government, we’ve been listening to what beef farmers have to say, we appreciate and understand that the beef price is very low and the cost of production is now exceeding the cost that farmers can get from the factories.

“The commission has now put some money on the table, so we need to now work out the detail of that but we’d expect that money to go to farmers within the next couple of weeks.”

Joe Healy, president of the IFA said: “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.”

Healy said he spoke to EU Commisioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan last night, and had met with him in Brussels on Monday in relation the fund proposal. 

Angus Woods, IFA national livestock chairman, is in Brussels today where he is due to meet EU commission officials and members of Hogan’s cabinet to discuss the details of the aid package. 

‘Where’s the beef?’

Farmers have been calling for government supports for months over concerns over mounting financial pressure when the UK – Ireland’s biggest trading partner – leaves the EU. 

Varadkar was met with a crowd of angry protestors in Cork last month when he arrived for a cabinet meeting. 

The cabinet meeting, usually held in Leinster House, was held at Blackrock castle in a bid to quell accusations that the government was too focused on Dublin. 

Videos circulated online of some protestors asking the Taoiseach “where’s the beef ya vegan ya?” as he arrived. 

At the time, Healy said farmers were being forgotten about while being “hammered with financial losses” because of Brexit uncertainty. 

With reporting from Christina Finn. 

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