Any unused funding from the €100m Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) should be made available to dairy farmers, Des Morrison, the chair of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) livestock committee, has said.

Morrison has said that the original decision to exclude those with herds in excess of 40 dairy cows is “grossly unfair” and “illogical”.

The recommendation comes on the back of two extensions to the funding deadline and an awareness that there is a surplus of money that remains unclaimed.

“Over 330,000 animals were slaughtered from dairy farms during the reference period, it is only right that they should get a fair share of the funding,” said Morrison.

“Dairy cattle were used to get the funding but then were excluded, it was, and is, disgraceful. The exclusion was always unfair and illogical and the undersubscription now affords the Minister a chance to do the right thing, even at this very late stage” he added.

The lack of uptake of the BEAM scheme by beef farmers now gives the Government the “perfect opportunity to rectify that serious mistake”, asserted Morrison.

He is calling on the Government to re-open the scheme for a short period so that those previously excluded dairy farmers could apply.

Some €78.1m has already been applied for by over 34,500 farmers under the measure.

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