It might make sense to bring forward direct payments to farmers to July, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said on the back of a question from Independent TD Michael Lowry.

“Beef farmers have been suffering for years now. The deputy suggested bringing forward direct payments to July, it might make sense to bring it forward.

“It might help with cashflow and it’s a good idea. I have spoken to the Minister for Agriculture to see if it is possible,” An Taoiseach said.

Curtailed markets

Deputy Lowry said that beef markets have been curtailed, prices have dropped and cashflow is an issue. He said that direct payments for farmers should be brought forward from October to July.

“These are EU funds and would assist the cashflow to farmers,” he said.

Lowry’s comment on direct payments was echoed by Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae who said bringing forward these payments would “get family farmers over a hump”.

Healy-Rae also said that the money from last year’s BEAM scheme should be made available to farmers. However, last week Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed poured cold water over the notion of the BEAM underspend being rolled out. He said it was allocated in Budget 2020 to the BEEP 2 scheme.

In his contribution, Deputy Healy-Rae called for marts to be reopened for farmers.

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