Better Banking Facilities for Dairy Farmers

25th May- Private Members Motion Re: Agriculture.

As a representative of the constituency from which I come, I am happy to arrive in Dáil Éireann at a time when it is recognised on all sides of the House that the agri-food sector will be in the vanguard of our economic recovery. I am happy that a recognition of its crucial role in our recovery forms the background to this debate. The Irish food sector employs 150,000 people and has an annual output of €24 billion. The target of the 2020 project is to increase primary production output by €1.5 billion, value-added output by €3 billion and general exports by €12 billion. We need to work towards meeting those wonderful and ambitious targets.

The dairy sector has survived the bad times of 2009. The EU and world markets are performing strongly. I am happy that the grants for modernising milking parlours, collecting rain water and developing better infrastructure are on stream. I am pleased because such schemes have great potential. There is a need for better banking facilities in the dairy sector. That needs to be addressed in the general context of the need to solve our banking problems. There will have to be lending. It is our duty to entyle=”text-align: justify;”>As a representative of the constituency from which I come, I am happy to arrive in Dáil Éireann at a time when it is recognised on all sides of the House that the agri-food sector will be in the vanguard of our economic recovery. I am happy that a recognition of its crucial role in our recovery forms the background to this debate. The Irish food sector employs 150,000 people and has an annual output of €24 billion. The target of the 2020 project is to increase primary production output by €1.5 billion, value-added output by €3 billion and general exports by €12 billion. We need to work towards meeting those wonderful and ambitious targets.

The dairy sector has survived the bad times of 2009. The EU and world markets are performing strongly. I am happy that the grants for modernising milking parlours, collecting rain water and developing better infrastructure are on stream. I am pleased because such schemes have great potential. There is a need for better banking facilities in the dairy sector. That needs to be addressed in the general context of the need to solve our banking problems. There will have to be lending. It is our duty to enter into dialogue with banks. We should make it a condition of any investment in the banks that they facilitate investment in our dairy sector, which has the potential to create jobs and lead economic revival. Dairy farmers need banking facilities if they are to expand. They may also need favourable tax recognition to that end. That needs to be examined by the Department of Finance. The Minister of State made the valid point that we do not want dairy expansion or consolidation if it happens to the detriment of employment. I am proud to say that the cream used in Emmets Irish Cream and Baileys Irish Cream comes from my county. I believe there is great potential to develop value-added products like liqueurs. That can be done in each sector.

I would like to conclude by drawing attention to the difficulties being experienced in the pig sector, which is a crucial one if we are to meet our ambition to achieve the 2020 target. An average of €12 per pig is being lost in the pig sector at the moment. That needs to be addressed, for example by means of better banking facilities. The cartels and monopolies of the retail outlets, some of which are using pork products for below-cost selling, need to be tackled.

 

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website