The Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) has said that it is “deeply disappointed” the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) did not arrange a meeting for farm organisations with the European Commissioner for Agriculture.
IBLA said that groups who participated in the national Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) discussions should have had an opportunity to speak with Janusz Wojciechowski during his visit to Ireland yesterday (Monday, May 30).
The commissioner met with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to discuss progress to date in the commission’s approval of Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan.
He spoke at the World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin and addressed the national council of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
The commissioner also visited Joe Collins’ livestock farm in Oldtown and the organic enterprise of Eddie and Swantje Kiernan in north Co. Dublin.
However, IBLA said that the department of agriculture should have arranged an “appropriate audience” to allow the commissioner to “hear the views of Irish farmers”.
“This forum should, in our opinion, have included all farm organisations that participated in the CAP discussions nationally and submitted a CAP submission document to the DAFM,” a spokesperson for IBLA said.
They added that at least one individual from each organisation could have been invited.
“At best, this was a wasted opportunity and at worst it was a cynical attempt to control the narrative,” the spokesperson claimed.
“The commissioner has only had the opportunity of hearing one view and, in our opinion, not the balanced view of Irish farmers,” they added.
IBLA has requested that Minister McConalogue and his officials explain why such an event was not organised.