The IFA sheep committee led a protest to the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday with a letter for the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue demanding stronger supports for the sector.

IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey told the Irish Farmers Journal that the most important element of the document was the demand for €30/ewe under the Sheep Improvement Scheme.

The submission also demanded direct supports for store lamb finishers who are “a vital outlet for hill sheep farmers,” Comiskey said.

“We need action now. Without it, Ireland’s second-largest farm sector, carried out on 36,000 farms, will be put at risk.

“Let this Government and the processors be under no illusion – we will continue our campaign if support is not forthcoming,” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal outside the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, JP Ryan Jerry from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, said that sheep farmers can’t take any more cuts.

“I finish all my lambs and our margins are on the floor. Prices have come back almost €20/head, we just can’t take it.

“Traditionally, we’re a sector that doesn’t draw down huge payments, but we need support now.”

ICSA protest

ICSA sheep chair Seán McNamara has confirmed that the association will hold a protest in Dublin to highlight the current issues in the sector next week. The protest will take place next Tuesday at 12.30pm on Kildare Street outside Dáil Éireann and the Department of Agriculture.

“Our proposal is that there’s a package to apply from 1 August last year until the end of February of €20/lamb for every lamb killed, up to 500 lambs. We want €5/head for the presentation of wool and €30/ewe under the Sheep Improvement Scheme,” he said.