Plight of Pig Farmers in Cavan must be addressed!

It is the country’s ambition to use the agriculture sector as one of the main engines to revive the economy. The ambitions of Food Harvest 2020 form part of this. We depend on agriculture, the vehicle that will bring about economic restoration. The pig industry forms a major part of the agriculture sector in County Cavan.

There are 750 jobs dependent on the pig industry in County Cavan. There has been a 30% increase in feed prices over recent weeks and months and pig farmers are paying this.  At the same time, prices for pigs remain low. The pig farmers are on the verge of going out of business, and one large piggery in Cork did just that recently. We are talking about 750 jobs and real people in the real economy. In the midst of our debates here, we could lose the sense of the fact that what happens here impacts on real lives. Will the Leader facilitate a debate with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as soon as possible to discuss the crisis in the pig industry? It is a short-term crisis due to the price of feed. Pig farmers need loans but they cannot get credit from banks and other financial institutions. They cannot pay for the feed and the millers are no longer able to give them feed. We met them the other night in Cavan and the crisis is as real as I am outlining. There were people on the verge of tears. It is a very serious situation and I cannot emphasise this sufficiently.

I appeal to the Leader on this humanitarian issue. It is also an animal welfare issue, as hundreds of thousands of animals may die. I want the Leader to arrange the debate as soon as possible to look at a loan system that would be repaid when the cycle of pig prices increases for these people. The debate should take place immediately, even if we have to extend the sitting of the House.

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