Dáil Éireann - Volume 465 - 23 May, 1996
Written Answers. - Farmers' Compensation.
Mr. Molloy Mr. Molloy
54. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the action, if any, he proposes to take to ensure that compensation for income loss suffered by farmers as a result of BSE is given directly to the winter fatteners most seriously affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10601/96]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates) Ivan Yates
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): Since the outbreak of the BSE scare at the end of March effective market support measures have been put in place at EU level to overcome the serious crisis that has affected the beef industry. These measures included an extension of the range of qualities which are eligible for intervention, the temporary lifting of the weight limit on carcases which may be sold into intervention, and an increase of over 12 per cent in export refunds for beef and live cattle.
However, even though 10,499 tonnes of beef has been taken from the market through intervention, I have always been conscious that market support measures on their own would not ensure adequate returns to producers. From the early stages of this crisis I insisted  on provision being made for compensation to producers through direct income payments.
At this week's meeting of the Agriculture Council, Commissioner Fischler presented his suggestions for a compensation package amounting to 650m ECU based on topping up the suckler cow and special beef premium. While the Commissioner's ideas are welcome and significant they do not take full account of current difficulties in the market. The Commissioner will review his suggestions in light of the discussion in the Council and will submit his formal proposals at the next meeting of the Council which is scheduled for 3-4 June. I will be pressing for some improvements to take account of our position and would hope that this eventual proposal and Council decision will represent a fair and equitable response to present difficulties.
In particular, I am aware that the main income losses incurred to date have been suffered by winter fatteners and my objective in the forthcoming negotiations on the compensation package will be to ensure that this category of producer receives an equitable share of the compensation provided by the European Union.
Dáil Éireann 465 Written Answers. Farmers' Compensation.