Mr O' Connell said;
"New figures released by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation show that the continuation of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme could yield an additional €128 million to the national herd by 2020. A further €300 million could be achieved between 2020 and 2030."
"This massive increase in the profitability of the national suckler herd would not just benefit farmers. The knock on effects would generate growth in the local economy, create employment and increase government revenue."
"Farmers and farm families spend an estimated €8 billion per year in our economy. For every €100 of agriculture output there is a further €73 of output to the wider economy. 71% of raw materials used by our agri and fishing industries are sourced in the domestic market. Clearly what benefits the profitability of the national herd benefits the wider economy."
"The ICBF is confident that due to the gains that have been made due to the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, and the further gains that can be made in coming years, Ireland will become a world leader in the cattle breeding."
"Minister Coveney needs to stop sitting on the fence and make his intentions concerning the future of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme known. His continued silence shows the lack of understanding for the agricultural sector which is growing in the Fine Gael party since they entered government."