Denis Drennan, President of ICMSA.
Pic: Don Moloney

ICMSA critical of “derisory” funding of Dairy Beef Scheme and ask for real support.

While acknowledging the announcement of the new Dairy Beef Scheme, the President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, said that any reasonable analysis of the funding allocated could conclude that the €6.5m per year allocated is derisory set against data showing that the sector that is delivering over €1.7 billion in exports and now represents nearly 65% of total beef production in Ireland.

Mr. Drennan said that a very interesting and instructive contrast was provided by noting that dairy beef production representing nearly 65% of total beef production has been allocated €6.5m per annum, while organic farming has been allocated €57m and forestry has been allocated €110m. He observed that organics is getting eight times more and forestry 16 times more than a sector that is probably operating in every parish in Ireland. While the Government was constantly urging farmers to become more climate efficient, it was happy to allocate a derisory level of funding to a beef system that has been shown to be very climate efficient as well as reducing the age of slaughter.  

The ICMSA President said that the Government appears intent on continuing to undermine conventional farming and the paltry Dairy Beef Scheme allocation is another clear example of this. 

“On top of this pathetic allocation of funding, the recently published dairy beef plan is another example of a seriously flawed top-down approach where the Department and associated state agencies developed a plan, had a token consultation with the farm organisations, and then published a plan that simply will not work. Ireland has an opportunity to develop a global leading dairy beef production system delivering considerable net foreign earnings for the exchequer and the national economy, while lowering emissions towards our targets, and we need to see the Government take that seriously and fund accordingly”, said Mr. Drennan.

Mr. Drennan noted that ICMSA is firmly of the view that any scheme should provide support initially to the person rearing the calf and, subsequently, to the person finishing the climate efficient animal with a payment of €100 at each stage.   It was disappointing and retrograde that the weighing scheme in place in 2023 was not built on and has now been abolished.

In relation the announced scheme, Mr. Drennan said that where a farmer has purchased a qualifying bull in 2024, that bull should meet the conditions of the scheme as long as it remains in the herd irrespective of changes to his star ratings.  In addition, ICMSA is concerned that farmers may have purchased a bull that meets the three star requirement but now find that it does not meet the sub-index requirement.  This would be very unfair and ICMSA believes that the Department must acknowledge this and put in place a remedy.  

Ends     25 March 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office