CAP negotiations ‘critical’ for new minister Calleary

Farm organisations are urging the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary, to “stress the importance” of negotiating the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget for Irish farmers.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced in the Dáil today, Wednesday, June 15, that Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary would take over as Minister for Agriculture, following the termination of Barry Cowen’s position in cabinet.

IFA reaction

Describing discussions in relation to EU funding as “critical”, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Tim Cullinan emphasised that the new minister must “hit the ground running”.

Cullinan said: “The European Council meeting on Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18, where the EU and CAP budgets for the next seven years will be discussed, is absolutely critical for Irish farming.

It is vital that the new minister stresses the importance of this to the Taoiseach, who will be representing Ireland at the meeting.

Cullinan added that it necessary to “get the €50 million Covid-19 beef payment out to farmers as a matter of urgency”.

While Cullinan said the IFA looks “forward to working with the new minister to harness the full potential of the farming sector”, he also wished the former Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen, along with his family, “all the best for the future”.

INHFA response

Meanwhile, the president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Colm O’Donnell also welcomed the appointment of Dara Calleary to the position of Minister for Agriculture, saying: “It brings the focus back entirely to the serious business of farming.”

Following the controversy surrounding Barry Cowen, O’Donnell said he looks forward to the government getting back on track.

He said that the CAP budget needs to be a key area of focus for the new minister, with the delivery of “a more equitable and fairer distribution of payments, along with finding new export markets post-Brexit”.

He also added that the “extremely worrying EU Commission proposals for another raft of land designations on carbon-rich ecosystems, as set out in the EU Biodiversity Strategy” needs to be addressed by Calleary.

O’Donnell said he “looks forward to a positive working relationship” with the new minister, and intends to set out key priorities with him at a meeting tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, July 16, at his new office on Kildare Street.