Newly appointed Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, has prioritised better farm incomes.
He said yesterday that farm-produce market difficulties were more prolonged than anybody had envisaged, and that any measures taken should be 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.”
He confirmed that the final tranche of payments, under the direct-aid package agreed at EU level last September for the dairy and pig sectors, was now issuing to farmers.
Ireland was allocated €13.7m, and the Government matched this funding to provide an overall aid package of €27.4m.
This week’s payments are a €1,000 top-up to 1,500 young dairy farmers, who were successful applicants under the Department’s Young Farmer Scheme.
Payments went to 17,600 other dairy farmers in December.
In the pig sector, payments of €3,300 each commenced this week to 300 approved applicants.
Ireland is one of the few EU member states to have drawn-down their direct-aid allocation to date, said Mr Creed.
He said: “It was an immense honour and privilege to be appointed by An Taoiseach, on Friday last, and to be subsequently endorsed by the Dáil, to serve as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
“Having represented a primarily rural constituency for my entire career, the agri-sector is an area close to my heart and I look forward to serving as minister, and working with all the stakeholders involved in these important sectors.
“On Friday, I will meet with Commissioner Canete to outline Ireland’s strategies on climate-change mitigation, and the development of agriculture, and to discuss issues of mutual concern, in that regard.
"Next week, I will attend my first EU Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels.
“I will meet with the various farming organisations at the earliest possible opportunity.”
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