Cropped 22 Jan 2024

ICMSA say “absurd and disappointing” exclusion of farmers from input to ‘Ten-Point Action Plan For Dairy Calf to Beef’.

Commenting on the publication of a Ten-Point Action Plan to support Dairy Calf to Beef systems, the President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan said that while the plan has merit, it’s potential was hugely undercut by the complete lack of any consultation with the very farmers who would be those supposed to implement the bulk of the actions. Describing this as both absurd and disappointing, Mr. Drennan said this was yet another in the increasingly long line of state initiatives where the Government decided on measures without consulting the stakeholders, published their proposals and then engaged in token consultation with the stakeholders afterwards.  This approach has been hugely damaging and wasteful and the Government needs to reacquaint itself with the actual meaning of consultation.

“ICMSA firmly believes that a vibrant dairy calf to beef system can be developed in Ireland that will deliver probably the most climate efficient beef production system in the world. We were the first to identify this option and we have been the most consistent supporter of the rather half-hearted attempts on the Government’s part to get it up and going. But we are long past the point where the Minister is going to have to get real. Dairy beef production accounts for in excess of 60% of total beef production in Ireland delivering billions in net foreign earnings for the country while the Minister allocates a measly €6m per annum to support dairy beef production. This is in sharp contrast to for example, organic farming with an annual budget of €56m and indeed forestry with a budget of €110m for 2024”, noted Mr. Drennan.  

“If the Government is as serious about climate change as they keep insisting they are, then they have to invest in low emissions beef production – and that means the dairy beef potential that’s right underneath their nose. We need to see a dairy beef calf scheme with a substantial exchequer budget that will deliver a payment for both the calf rearer, subject to certain conditions, and also a payment for the beef finisher. Secondly, the Beef Price Grid needs the long-overdue reforms that stop the ridiculous penalising of dairy beef – the beef, remember, that now comprises the substantial majority of total Irish beef production”, continued the ICMSA President.

“We could have pointed all this out and helped design a real plan with real capacity to solve a real problem. But we weren’t even asked. Sooner or later, the Department is going to have to question the wisdom of continuing to have these ‘consultations’ with themselves and then coming forward with plans that contain very obvious gaps that could filled if only they had asked other parties to the problem”, concluded Mr. Drennan.

Ends    22 January 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office