Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has said that the provisional agreement on the next Common Agriculture Policy presents some benefits for smaller & poorer famers and for the environment – but that the Irish government resisted them all.
Teachta Carthy reiterated that the main problem facing CAP was the EU budget previously agreed by the government.
He said that the redistribution measures reached in the agreement despite Irish government resistance, although welcome, must represent the minimum and that the government must use their much-sought ‘flexibility’ to ensure even further distribution to smaller and poorer farmers.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The unacknowledged biggest challenge facing the CAP negotiators was that they have been working on the basis of a terrible EU budget – signed off on by the Irish government – which has resulted in the proportion of the MFF assigned to CAP being reduced from 37% to 30%.
“In essence that means that Irish farmers will be asked to carry out more actions but for less supports.
“Within that context I welcome that there has been a provisional agreement although it falls short of what Sinn Féin sought and Irish farming needs in terms of redistribution.
“The agreed minimum of 85% convergence, 10% front-loading and €100,000 upper limit payment each represent benefits for smaller and poorer farmers.
“It must be noted that the Irish government resisted all progressive proposals in these CAP talks.
“However, these benefits must represent the absolute minimum that can be delivered over the coming years.
“Within these frameworks is the ‘flexibility’ for which Minister McConalogue fought so hard. The big question is now whether he will use this flexibility to deliver further redistribution or if, in fact, his position during negotiations was to minimise any distribution of funds to those farmers most in need.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to advocate for maximum redistribution to ensure that farmers are treated fairly, we will seek 20% front-loading in order to support smaller and medium sized farmers and we will be demanding that the upper limits on Pillar 1 payments are implemented to the fullest possible extent, without disregards.
“Perhaps Minister McConalogue will now share his own opinion on these matters with the farmers of Ireland and the rural communities that depend on them.”