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Creed "Fails to Understand!" - Minister Smith

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, described as "extraordinary, but hardly surprising" the response of Fine Gael Spokesperson, Michael Creed, to the outcome of the CAP Health Check negotiations, which concluded in Brussels this morning.

Minister Smith said that "Deputy Creed has again shown not alone an inability to respond constructively to any proposals but has, deliberately or otherwise, failed to understand the significance of what was secured for Irish farmers during very tough negotiations".

The Minister said that the agreement in relation to increased milk quota would be worth at least €100 million of additional milk production to Irish farmers, "a fact conveniently ignored by Deputy Creed".

The Minister continued: "Despite Deputy Creed's suggestions to the contrary, the deal agreed this morning ensures that the butter and skimmed milk powder intervention schemes are maintained intact, despite a very determined effort to introduce tendering for every tonne of butter and SMP intervened. Along with the arrangements for butter Private Storage Aid, the key market mechanisms that are most important to Ireland have been left completely unchanged."

Minister Smith said that while he had strongly opposed additional compulsory modulation, "the final deal represents almost half of what was originally proposed and the money raised will be used exclusively for payments to Irish farmers under the rural development programme. In addition, and very significantly, a minimum of an additional €23 million, and possibly considerably more, will be available to Irish farmers from 2009 and I will very shortly be engaging with those who represent the Irish agricultural sector as to how best these funds can be used for the development of Irish farming".

Date Released: 20 November 2008