IFA president Joe Healy has accused the Minister for Agriculture of “poor form” and a “slack” response on the issue of calf exports.
Speaking at a north Tipperary IFA meeting in Nenagh on 25 March, he said that exports were the only competition factories had but that they insisted that exports were not being maximised the way they should be.
The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut
“We met the Minister last October to make sure that things would be in place for ferries this spring,” Healy said.
“The Minister told us that ferries would be sailing on alternate days but it turned out that the Minister was giving us wrong information.
“You would hope the Minister would know something as serious as that but it turns out he didn’t.
“It was poor form and slack. The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut but the farmer’s will,” Healy said.
Healy said that the IFA had identified lairage space for up to 8,000 calves in Abbeville which was three and half hours from Cherbourg.
“Up to last year, calves that were landing in Cherbourg were going up to Abbeville,” Healy said.
“Some animal welfare crowd followed them and he [Minister Creed] signed a form to say that they wouldn’t use Abbeville.”
“We saw three lairages but not one calf in any of them and facilities for around 8,000.”
Under current regulations calves must be rested for 12 hours on arrival at Cherbourg.
The issue of Area of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments was also raised and the IFA treasurer Tim Cullinan told farmers that 67 townlands in north Tipperary had been taken out of the ANC.
He said that the north Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh has arranged a meeting with local politicians on the issue and they hoped to get Tipperary townlands back into ANC.