Sep 242015

Commenting on remarks reported to have been made at today’s ploughing Championships by Commissioner Hogan in which he stressed the non-national  role of his position and inevitability of a fall from 2014 milk  price , ICMSA President, John Comer, said that while all Irish farmers understood perfectly the nationality-neutral role associated with the position of Commissioner they might reasonably have expected Commissioner Hogan to understand and appreciate the kind of damage that milk prices at their current level inflict not only on the farm families concerned, but on the wider rural economies that the EU is so vocal about supporting. Mr Comer said that farmers were becoming increasingly irritated by spokespersons – and he was not singling out Commissioner Hogan – who ‘waved away’ these kinds of income crisis as ‘peaks and troughs’ and implied that they were somehow natural and unavoidable. This, he said, was most certainly not the case and nor was it what farmers either wanted or could bear.

“Who wants peaks and troughs? Not us. Who wants – or can deal with – a 40% fall in income from one year to the next where all your bills and expenses remain constant? How is anyone expected to operate a farm on that basis? Let me assure the Commissioner and any other interested party that I don’t know a single farmer who wouldn’t prefer a more stable and predictable system that gave the milk supplier, the individual on whom the whole multi-billion euro sectors rests, a reasonable margin and reasonable income that they could rely on from year-to-year – the same as everyone else in our society. The only people who can deal with these ruinous peaks-and-troughs are the Commission and they either have the tools and won’t use them or they need new tools and should design them. It’s very interesting how there’s no peaks-and-troughs in the milk prices charged by the retail corporations: their profit margins are totally insulated from market supply and If the Commission was serious about investigating was causes these destructive peaks-and troughs then I suggest that’s they’d be well advised to look in that direction”, said the ICMSA  President.

Ends     24 September 2015.

John  Comer,  087-2057846

President, ICMSA.