11 May 2016
By Tom Collins
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD today confirmed that payments under the direct aid package for the dairy and pig sectors are now issuing to farmers. These payments are the final tranche under the package agreed at EU level in September of last year which allocated €13.7m for Ireland. The Government subsequently matched this funding to provide an overall aid package of €27.4m
Minister Creed commented “Working to improve farm incomes is my key priority as Minister. I am very aware that both the Irish dairy and pig sectors are under pressure at present as a result of current market difficulties. For this reason the Irish Government sought a number of measures to be taken at EU level to help to stabilise the market and provide some cash flow assistance to hard pressed farmers. The allocation of a direct aid package co-funded by the European Commission is one such measure and I am very pleased that we are in a position to match these EU funds with National funding.
In the dairy sector, today’s payments are a €1,000 top-up to almost 1,500 young farmers who were successful applicants under the Department’s Young Farmer Scheme. This complements the payments to over 17,600 farmers in December. In the pig sector, there are almost 300 approved applications for aid, and payments of €3,300 to each participant have commenced this week.
Minister Creed concluded that “the current market difficulties are more prolonged than anybody envisaged and it’s important that any measures taken are meaningful for producers in difficulty. I will work with Commissioner Hogan, who I am meeting this week, and other EU Ministers for Agriculture to ensure that the EU response is appropriate and can deliver the required response to help producers through these difficulties. Today’s payments mark Ireland out as one of the few EU member states to have drawn down their allocation to date and together with the Government’s top-up will provide some practical assistance to farmers”.