Dairy crisis: Sinn Féin representatives meet with AGRI Commissioner Phil Hogan

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today joined with DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill as she met with AGRI Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels regarding concerns around the fall in milk prices.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Martina Anderson said: “This is a global issue that cannot be solved at a local level.

“A combination of factors are having a negative impact for dairy farmers including the collapse in price of the global dairy market; Russia’s ban on imports; reduced demand from important markets such as China. The current rate of intervention is also well below the average cost of production. Farmers need help now before it is too late for their businesses to recover.

“I have been appalled at the lack of response so far from Commissioner Hogan, despite Minister Michelle O’Neill meeting and briefing him in March,” the MEP added.

“The dairy industry is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous industries and is heavily reliant on export markets. It’s also dependant on EU intervention and export funds, funds which the CAP aims to reduce and phase out.

“This industry and the thousands employed in the dairy sector is under massive pressure and urgent action is needed at EU level.”

Matt Carthy MEP, a member of the European Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development added: “Sinn Féin has always said that farmers deserve a fair and equitable price for their produce. We therefore support farmers in their demands and I am calling on Commissioner Hogan to put in place an EU aid package, as the current intervention price does not adequately fulfil the role of providing an effective safety net.

“Agriculture Minister O’Neill has been meeting with farmers and banks regularly to do everything she can to support the dairy sector and it is about time Commissioner Hogan intervened and put the long term survival of farmers ahead of the short term interests of markets.”