Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that the government’s CAP plan announced this week represented a deadly betrayal of Ireland’s Family farmers.
He said that overall agriculture spending over the lifetime of the next CAP will reduce in actual and real terms, while the inclusion of the €1.5billion Carbon Tax fund within the CAP co-financing arrangements breached clear promises from government.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The funding under Pillar 1 direct supports in the previous CAP normalised over five years was €5.975billion. It will be exactly the same in the next CAP, representing a significant cut in real terms.
“In Pillar 2 supports, despite government spin around co-financing levels, funding will reduce from €4billion in the previous round to €3.861billion for the 2023-2027 period. This is the real result of a disastrous EU budget negotiated by this government.
“The Programme for Government flagship commitment was that a new, separate, €1.5billion fund from carbon tax receipts was to be allocated to an Agri-environmental scheme.
“Despite the fact that this was simply giving farmers some of their own money back, they are now trying to give it back twice. Minister McConalogue committed that this fund would be distinct from Pillar 2 co-financing. This week, he has betrayed that commitment.
“The governments’s CAP plan is a deadly betrayal of Ireland’s family farmers. There is no vision or ambition contained within it and certainly no recognition of the huge challenges facing Irish agriculture as it rises to meet climate action objectives.
“The proposed Carbon Suckler Efficiency Scheme comes nowhere close to providing the supports this vital sector needs and is a far cry from the Suckler Scheme advocated by Sinn Féin, which would deliver up to €300 per cow/calf. That is the type of initiative required.
“The new sheep welfare scheme equally appears to be a simple rollover of funding, as is the fund for farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint.
“This CAP, coupled with last week’s miserly budget, clearly marks October 2021 as the moment that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael abandoned any pretence that they are on the side of family farmers.
“The average annual allocation of just €60 million per year to TAMS, represents a reduction on this year’s €80 million allocation, suggesting to farmers that, as they try to meet Carbon Budget challenges, they will actually see supports decrease.
“This will be particularly a kick in the teeth to those in the poultry and dairy sectors currently trying to meet the requirements of the draft Nitrates Action Plan and issues regarding ammonia emissions.
“The much flouted increased spend on organics will still only allow government to set targets well below the EU average. Even then there are huge questions as to government capacity to deliver even these unambitious targets. In 2021, Minister of State Hackett allocated an additional €4 million to organics, and only managed to convince some 317 farmers to apply.
“This government clearly does not see the promotion and development of our family farm network as a priority. The absolute joke of Minister McConalogue continuing his so-called consultation meetings on a plan he has already announced proves that.
“For our part in Sinn Féin, we will continue to support our family farmers in their bid to achieve fair play in an ever challenging period.
“We will continue to advocate for measures that will deliver fair prices for our primary producers. And, we are determined in government to deliver the fair CAP that the incumbent has failed to secure.”