Dairy processors demand 13 Brexit actions from Government
Dairy Industry Ireland is presenting a 13-point plan to Government and opposition parties that would mitigate against the effects of a no-deal Brexit.

Following a meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, beef and dairy bosses are now setting out their demands with opposition parties.

Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) met with the Fianna Fáil front bench on Wednesday this week.

It has given them a 13-point list that would "ensure the continued success of the dairy industry on the island of Ireland".

Less than seven weeks

“With less than seven weeks remaining until exit day, we still hope that the UK government will deliver a deal that will work for all people in the UK, Ireland and across Europe, but, at present, there is no clear path out of the political mess created and we are doing our utmost to ensure dairy is not collateral damage,” DII director Conor Mulvihill said.

“We completely support the Government’s position of implementing the withdrawal agreement on the table and no border on the island of Ireland.”

Dairy Industry Ireland recommendations

  • Transition period - even in a no-deal scenario, a freeze on the imposition of tariffs.
  • Status quo for origin labelling for milk should allow products produced in NI, with milk from NI, to be British or Irish, and dairy products processed in the south be called Irish or EU, as currently allows.
  • Inward and outward processing should be cleared for milk going north and south of the border for processing into products to minimise disruption. Revenue officials in the UK and Ireland need to come to a quick agreement on this.
  • Work to be done immediately with DEARA in NI and DAFM in the south to ensure issues around exports, transport and veterinary issues are as streamlined as possible for farmers and the company.
  • Allow companies claim VAT as an input credit at the same time as declaring their liability in order to minimise cashflow needs. This VAT deferral licence regime already exists in the Netherlands.
  • Introduce trade support measures, including further export trade financing and export credit guarantees, to support the continued development of international export markets.
  • Introduce direct supports for dairy processors looking to re-tool and re-invest in plant and machinery to produce product lines for new markets.
  • Avoid regulatory divergence in standards to ensure all product is eligible to go into the UK, EU and world markets unhindered.
  • Farmers will need direct income aid in the event of sterling depreciation following a no-deal Brexit. They will also need direct producer supports, basic payment top-ups and emergency market supports.
  • Farmers may also require structural and adjustment support measures to cope with the additional costs and long-term devaluation of returns from the UK market.
  • Put in place a multi-annual framework for funding Brexit mitigation within a temporary EU state aid framework. Funds amounting to 5% of the value of current annual export sales to the UK will be needed annually from domestic and EU sources for three years. Funds should be targeted at supporting innovation, market diversification, upskilling and capital expenditure in equipment and machinery.
  • Introduce an enterprise stabilisation fund. This would enable short-term financing like the supports that were introduced in 2009 that helped firms through the financial crisis and an increase in de-minimus levels of state aid.
  • Introduce additional marketing and innovation supports for companies looking to reformulate, re-package or innovate their product lines for new markets.
  • Solutions

    Following the meeting with representatives from the agri-food industry, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers said the Government has offered very little in the way of support or solutions.

    “Whilst diversifying into new markets is of course welcome, it can take years to make inroads in this regard,” Chambers said.

    “Our agri-food industry has worked tremendously hard to build up their reputation and earn their place on UK shelves and any disruption to the east-west supply chain could see Irish products lose their market share and be replaced with products from other countries which would have long-term negative implications for the sector.”

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    Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed

    'Everything was falling apart' - farmers dealing with depression
    The Macra event is being aimed at young people to encourage them to talk about their mental health.

    Young farmers were urged at a Macra event to open up about their feelings and take care of their mental health.

    The event was part of a series of talks organised by Jonathan Dwyer and John Keane, two north Tipperary Macra na Feirme members in conjunction with Healthy Ireland as part of an initiative called “Make a Moove”, aimed at helping young men in rural areas discuss mental health issues.

    Addressing a crowd of 40 young people at Rackett Hall in Roscrea, Bill, shared his story with the crowd.

    “I grew up in a dairy farm just outside Nenagh, there was nothing in me that would have ever shouted that I’d have any problems.

    “One of the happiest days I ever had was when I got accepted in veterinary college in Budapest when I was 18.

    Everything was falling apart in my own mind

    “Unfortunately it was pretty soon after that that things started to derail for me. I moved to Hungary at 18 and I can’t explain it but the fun seemed to drip out of everything.

    “Inwardly for seven years I was crumbling inside. Everything was falling apart in my own mind”

    “I came back from Budapest and went to New Zealand for a while, I had a great time but still I wasn’t right.

    “I went back helping on the farm, one day my father and I had very strong words and my mother took him away to cool down.

    “When they left I walked out and went to Dublin.

    “I didn’t realise that when my parents came back they thought the worst and apparently my father walked the farm looking for me because he thought that I’d done something.

    “But I was in a very dark place for three months, I actually remember standing in CopperFace Jacks with no phone but internet connection where I was looking at places to check myself in.”

    He told the group that it was soon after that he tried to take his own life.

    “One after the other I took the painkillers and drank the bottle of whiskey and got into bed for what I hoped was the last time.

    “The worst feeling I actually had was the day after when I woke up, that I’d even managed to fail to do this.

    “I spent a couple more days lying in bed and trying to build up the energy to get up. I was thinking about a motorway that was nearby and jumping off it

    “Thankfully the guys I was living with somehow got in contact with my parents.”

    Going home

    His mother and brother came to collect him from the house and brought him home.

    Bill said that when he seriously thought about why he was depressed he linked it to alcohol, even the attempt he made on his own life had been after a three-day drinking session with friends.

    After two years of therapy and working on himself he says he’s learned how to really live at life.

    “With hindsight, the pain the drink had caused me was phenomenal,” Bill said.

    “It wasn’t easy but the day I stopped drinking was the day my life changed.”

    The next talk will be held on Thursday 25 April in the Anner Hotel, Thurles at 7.30pm.

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    Check out all the latest news from the day and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

    Weather forecast

    Thursday will be a dry evening, with hazy sunshine. It will be dry tonight, with clear spells.

    Met Éireann predicts that Friday will be another dry day, but some cloud will develop later in the day in the west of the country.

    Top temperatures between 16°C and 21°C.

    In the news

  • The Health and Safety Authority will begin an intensive farm safety inspection campaign on Tuesday 23 April, with a particular focus on machinery.
  • The next few days will be crucial, after Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed called for a package of support from the European Commission for Irish beef farmers following €100m of Brexit-related losses.
  • The board of Carbery has set its milk price for supplies during the month of March.
  • The Government is considering drastic measures to tackle ammonia pollution.
  • There was a call to end delays and to change legislation immediately at the IFA Fair Deal protest.
    Graphic images: lamb pecked to death by crows
    A farmer has lamented the loss of a young lamb after crows attacked his flock.

    Ronan Delaney, a beef and sheep farmer in Co Meath, has warned other farmers to take care after finding one lamb with its eyes and tongue pecked out by crows while being born.

    The farmer said the lamb was attacked as it was being born.

    Delaney discovered the lamb on Wednesday 17 April and later on that day found a sheep with one of her eyes pecked out after she became stuck in a field.

    Ronan Delaney said the ewe was still sore after losing her eye when she was attacked by crows.

    Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, he said that crow attacks on sheep are a common occurrence every year, but it was sickening to see the devastation they wrought.

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