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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I second the amendment to the Order of Business proposed by Senator Horkan in respect of the transfer of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Commission to the council and the consequences of that decision.
Yesterday, the Irish Farmers Association, IFA, had a briefing for Members of the Oireachtas at which it put forward a very strong case for support in the forthcoming budget. I ask the Leader to bring the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, to the House to discuss the issue. As everyone is well aware, farming has gone through a very difficult period this year with the extreme weather conditions in spring and summer and the fodder crisis. Now the price of suckler cows has dropped sharply. If a farmer does not have suckler cows, he will not have calves or the method of producing our stock. Of all times, now that we are facing into Brexit we have to keep our stocking levels up. Being based on a farm, I can tell the House that the prices for young weanlings are less than they were a year ago. People who have kept them for a year are facing losses between the cost of fodder and all the other issues.
There is a proposal to make a targeted payment of €200 per suckler cow to farmers this year, which would be a major boost. For sheep farmers, it is also proposed that there be a €5 payment per ewe. These are genuine requests by the IFA. They are very good lobbyists and we had a very good lobbying session yesterday at the Alex Hotel in Dublin. I am putting forward some of the urgent issues that arose. We would have a better opportunity if the Minister would come to the House. Most Senators have a direct interest in the farming community, including our spokesman and I am confident the Leader of the House will arrange it in the next few weeks if possible.