Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to immediately engage with Minister Simon Coveney in an effort to offset the impact of a massive superlevy fine which is about to be levelled at the Irish Dairy Sector. Deputy McGrath made his comments following desperate pleas from rural organisations who fear that the minimum €80 million fine may extend upwards to €100 million due to an increase in this year’s number of milking cows:
“While I appreciate that it is not possible for Minister Coveney to act on a unilateral basis to adjust super levy rules, I am calling on Commissioner Hogan to prioritise this issue at EU level.
He is well aware of the drastic impact that removing anything up to €100 million will have on an already depressed rural economy.
The reality is that rural Ireland will not be able to cope with this level of reduction, especially when it is seen in the context of the savage cuts to Pillar 2 funding in terms of rural development and the LEADER initiatives that were announced this week by Minister Alan Kelly.
Whatever issues exist in terms of creating structures or facilities which will offset the impact of this fine must be considered quickly and implemented without delay.
The reality is that this will have serious knock effects for farmers already experiencing cash flow difficulties.
To that extent I fully support the call of Minister Coveney for the banks to show a degree of flexibility and realism when it comes to addressing the problems that are bound to arise for dairy farmers in the absence of mitigating arrangements at EU Commission level,” concluded Deputy McGrath.