Seanad debates

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Agriculture Industry

10:30 am

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Senator is right. The role of the Government is to support sheep farmers in the very important work they do. With every reference year there are hard cases and challenges. It is definitely to the benefit of farmers that we move the reference year from 2014-15 to 2017 because it will bring in more ewes.

The terms of reference for the wool feasibility study involve the identification of market opportunities domestically and internationally for wool-based products, carrying out economic feasibility and cost-benefit analysis on proposed market opportunities, determining mechanisms that can be used to support industry initiatives and the identification of potential research projects available to support the identified market opportunities. This is important work and it will be followed through.

We are building on the dedicated work of the country's sheep farmers through a number of avenues, which I have already outlined. We continue to support farmers through the new CAP transition period. There will be further support in the new CAP to build on these schemes. While market prices are strong at present we will continue efforts to open up new markets for sheepmeat as well as to enhance the value of existing markets. We are seeking to restore the value of wool as a byproduct. Our work is ongoing and we recognise the very important role played by sheep farmers. We will continue to support them.


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