Pat McCormack, ICMSA President pictured at the ICMSA AGM which took place at the South Court Hotel, Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

ICMSA say RTE Investigates programme “disturbing” but 18,000 dairy farmers not culpable for abuses perpetrated by a few.

The President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that in common with every other viewer, he and his members found the issues and footage addressed in the programme to be disturbing and disappointing.

Mr. McCormack said that the clear laws and regulations set out around the question of animal welfare must be enforced and sanctions – up to and including prosecution – must follow where clear evidence was present.  He said that a clear chain of responsibility and regulation existed and following that chain brought us quickly and decisively to the body within whose remit fell all aspects of animal welfare: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  

“In the first instance, the blame and culpability for this mistreatment lies absolutely with the individuals involved and those supervisors who may have had knowledge of these cruel practices, but who failed to act.  ICMSA expects the Department to now investigate fully, and we know that they will be through and fair.”

Mr. McCormack said that ICMSA and farmers in general rejected categorically any suggestion that this kind of abuse was widespread or a norm. He said that the welfare and health of their stock was the standard by which farmers rated and judged each other and he appealed for those both reporting the story and responding to the issues raised, to address the specific wrongdoing and wrongdoers, and not to “go their usual route”, where a vast majority was made pay for the abuse perpetrated by the few.

“This is important, and we’d ask both the media and authorities covering this to avoid their usual trick, where – rather than dealing with the small number of individuals who are flouting the regulations – we get a whole new layer of regulations loaded onto the 18,000-odd dairy farmers who are already obeying all the rules around calf welfare.  In the same way as it’s unfair and wrong to target everyone in a broadcaster for the errors and misjudgement of a few, it is similarly unfair and wrong to find 18,000 dairy farmers culpable for the wrongs and abuses perpetrated by a small number”, said Mr. McCormack.


Ends        10 July 2023

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office