Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that the EU budget deal announced today is disastrous for Irish family farmers and the rural communities that depend on them.
Teachta Carthy said: “Behind the spin of government, one thing from this deal is clear; Irish farmers and rural communities are the big losers.
“It appears that Micheál Martin approached these negotiations in the same manner as he did government formation talks; agree to a deal at any price.
“The European Commission had proposed additional funding of €15 billion in Pillar II payments. The Irish government acceded to half of that.
“In real terms, the budget line towards the Common Agriculture Policy has been cut by 9% and yet it is clear that there will be additional bureaucracy and costs associated with drawing down the funds. This is at a time when Irish family farmers need more support, not less.
“Suggestions that the losses will be offset by a €300 million Pillar II ‘top-up’ or via the Brexit emergency fund will not wash with farmers.
“The cuts will also go beyond the farming community. It will mean less money invested in rural development projects and less money available to the drivers of local economies, our farmers.
“Many of our farming families are already under significant pressure; cuts to their farm payments could spell the end for them.
“Big questions also remain as to how much additional EU spending Irish taxpayers will be expected to fork out, and how much we will get in return.
“We have no clarification as to how the ‘own resources’ revenue-making capacity that the government has handed over to the Commission will operate in practice.
“It appears that the Taoiseach has agreed to a deal whereby the Irish people will be paying substantially more while the programmes most important to us are significantly cut.
“Put simply, this is a disastrous deal for Irish farming and for rural communities.”