The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has warned that farmers could take to the streets of Dublin next week unless something is done to avert the current issues in the sheep sector.

ICSA sheep chair Seán McNamara told the Irish Farmers Journal that protest action is on the table following a Food Vision sheep committee meeting on Friday last.

The current market situation and outlook for the sheep sector was discussed at last Friday’s meeting, with farm organisations told that prices are tracking 2021 levels. However, inputs costs soared last year and remain high, thus reducing farmers' margins.

The farm organisations were tasked with coming up with proposals for the sector following the meeting.

'Waste of time'

“It’s a waste of time. We’re not happy at all. We want a package for sheep farmers and a ewe payment increase in the Sheep Improvement Scheme,” McNamara said.

“We were told that we got a 20% increase in the scheme [to €12/ewe]. We spent two or three hours talking with Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture, Teagasc and the factories. We ain’t happy.

"Our proposal is that there is a package there 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.

“We plan to escalate this in the next two weeks, with potential protest action,” McNamara said.


Irish Natura and Hill Farmer Association (INHFA) president Vincent Roddy said that his worry is that some people would see the current problems in the sheep sector as a way of “driving a reduction in sheep numbers, from an environmental point of view”.

“On the hills, the rewilding agenda is gaining traction. My concern would be that some people may see this as an opportunity to reduce the national flock,” he said.

The INHFA will discuss potential proposals this week and it will also be looking at addressing the issues in the wool sector and the control of dogs.