The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) is calling for the new Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen to introduce a new “bigger and better” Sheep Welfare Scheme.

The organisation's chair Sean McNamara is proposing a scheme that would provide a payment of €30/ewe, with additional measures to the current scheme.

“The sheep sector has not received the attention it deserves, and this will have to change. Sheep farmers have never received any exceptional aid during recent tough times, unlike their dairy and beef counterparts,” McNamara said.

“ICSA has repeatedly looked for BEAM type scheme for sheep and this must still be given careful consideration.”

Last year, the Department of Agriculture paid 18,594 farmers €16.83m through the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

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