Farmers play a key role in tackling climate change, protecting the environment and preserving landscapes and biodiversity, according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune.

The proposed revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which was recently agreed by the European Parliament, sets out high ambitions on environmental and climate change measures.

Clune, a sitting MEP who is running again in the upcoming European elections, said:

“One of the most obvious specific objectives of the next CAP is to provide safe food which is produced in a sustainable manner, increase competitiveness and ensure a viable income for farmers.

“But the CAP is also focused on taking action to mitigate climate change, preserving our landscapes and biodiversity and in developing sustainable resource management.

I believe that farmers must be financially supported for these measures with new, additional payments. They should not be expected to engage in these measures from their existing payments.

“Farmers are very much part of the solution when it comes to protecting our environment,” Clune concluded.

Decisions ‘not made with farmer interests in mind’

Meanwhile, farmer payments from the EU are not being distributed in as fair a way as possible, according to independent TD and European Parliament candidate Mick Wallace.

Speaking at a question and answer conference of fellow candidates – which was organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) – Wallace claimed: “There are a lot of people getting money who don’t need it, and a lot of farmers who need more help that aren’t getting it.

“I actually think that farming is in trouble. I don’t think the way the Government or European Parliament operates is favourable to farmers. The money that comes from Europe can be distributed in a fairer way,” argued Wallace.

According to Wallace, the decisions that affect farmers are not being made with farmer interests in mind.

“I would argue that most of the decisions being made are being dictated by big businesses and corporations, who don’t really have much concern for farmers in Ireland. This has to be changed or we’re going down a cul-de-sac,” claimed the Wexford TD.