Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Terry LeydenTerry Leyden (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I second the amendment to the Order of Business by Senator Gallagher. It is a great day for the Finucane family. I concur with what Mrs. Finucane said, so I presume the outcome is totally satisfactory to her. I raised this issue many times in the Council of Europe. I thought there was collaboration between the United Kingdom and paramilitary forces, which amounted to state execution. There was also the assistance of an MP. The comments made in the House of Commons under full immunity were absolutely disgraceful. That must be exposed. It is a great day for the Finucane family.

I remind the Leader of my request for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to come into the House to discuss the beef environmental efficiency pilot, BEEP, scheme. According to an article in the Farming Independentof Tuesday, 26 February, by the reporter, Declan O'Brien, just a quarter of suckler farmers have applied for the scheme. An extension of the application period has been sought by organisations until at least Friday, 1 March. That is not satisfactory and I do not believe it will attract any more applicants but the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association, ICSA, and the Irish Farmers Association, IFA, have sought that. A total of 17,000 suckler farmers with 400,000 cows have applied, which is 26% of the 65,000 suckler farmers that are eligible. They know exactly what I said, namely, that it is a very unsatisfactory scheme. I reiterate the point that the scheme is badly thought out and should be fully reviewed. The chairman of the ICSA suckler group, John Halley, said the idea that €40 per cow would make any difference was an illusion. We now have typical suckler beef U grade carcases of 450 kg being cut by 10 cent per kilo or €45 per head. The scheme is completely counterproductive. Health and safety issues also arise, as it is a very dangerous endeavour to move a cow into a weighing scales and it will really not prove anything. At the very least, this matter should be reviewed now in light of the slow and low take-up, which shows that the Leader of the House does not have all the answers at any time, although he might pretend he has. He knew all about it yesterday but he certainly did not know that so few had applied, even though his party is in government. He is a bit of an illusion too.


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