The low uptake of farmers taking part in the beef genomics scheme was predicted by me several months ago and it has now come to pass, with take up as low as 50% in some areas. I and others appealed to Minister Coveney to revamp the scheme but all he did was tinker around at the edges and now the low uptake proves what I have been saying all along. It is clear that this scheme is deeply flawed and Minister Coveney should have swallowed his pride and listened to the people who told him that there were problems with the scheme yet he has pressed ahead anyway.
There is still time for Minister Coveney to make the changes that we have been asking for and to let more farmers join the scheme. Even if the payments for the scheme are delayed beyond October farmers will not mind if the scheme is fair and more can join. I will be continuing my efforts to get the conditions of this scheme changed to make it fairer on farmers in the coming weeks. Almost 70% of the suckler herds are located in the areas of the West including Clare and Donegal and it is a vital sector of the agriculture industry in this region and it is imperative that the Minister gets this right..