The Tirlán job cuts announced this morning is very concerning and is a direct result of EU and Government policies, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.

IFA president Francie Gorman said dairy margins are being squeezed by Government policies which are focused on curbing production rather than on the sustainable growth of the sector.

“The tightening of the existing nitrates derogation, together with increased regulation and cuts to supports, are making life more and more difficult for the dairy and tillage farmers that supply Tirlán.

“Today’s announcement must be a wake-up call for the Government to focus on the economic well-being of the sector,” he said.

Gorman added that the Government oversaw a cut to the derogation limit without any proper assessment of the economic or indeed the environmental consequences.

“There must be an immediate focus on the sector to see how we can grow it sustainably to protect farmers’ livelihoods and jobs in the sector.

“This morning’s announcement will be concerning for Tirlàn staff and their families. Morale is also very low amongst farmers. There is so much policy uncertainty that farmers cannot make plans. This must be addressed.

“I would emphasise the need for Tirlán to pay a strong milk and grain price to farmers and to ensure access to competitively-priced inputs.

“Farmers are hurting too and they cannot take any further cuts to their margins,” he added.