IFA Animal Health Chairperson Pat Farrell has strongly criticised the lack of progress of the TB Forum in addressing key issues for farmers.
He said the Department of Agriculture, facilitated by the Forum structure, has continually frustrated efforts to address the critical issues for farmers.
“IFA agreed to participate on the understanding it would provide farmers with the opportunity to have the key issues impacting on our livelihoods addressed. We are the single largest contributor to the programme, providing €54m annually directly and indirectly.
“Following six full meetings, the key issues raised by IFA, on behalf of farmers, remain to be addressed. These issues have been clearly and consistently highlighted to the Minister, his officials and the Forum and relate primarily to the compensation and support payments to farmers.
“A number of bilateral meetings were facilitated by the Forum late last year, but the issues have not been progressed by the Department of Agriculture,” he said.
Pat Farrell said despite the commitments given by the Minister for Agriculture, the TB Forum is functioning as a vehicle for the Department, but is ignoring the issues raised by farmers.
“The draft interim report presented to the most recent meeting gives a very clear insight into the intentions of the Minister and his officials. It details additional controls and sanctions for farmers with no reference to the compensatory issues put forward by IFA,” he said.