The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has sought clarity on the government’s position when it comes to the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.

During this week’s European Agriculture and Fisheries (AGRIFISH) Council meeting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue called for “a robust CAP budget”.

“Farmers are being asked to do more. Their role in food production and our environmental ambition must be adequately supported to achieve a competitive, sustainable and resilient sector,” he said.


ICMSA president Denis Drennan said that farmers would welcome “the strong words”, but also want reassurance that the Irish government intends to seek increased EU funding for agriculture.

“Farmers are justifiably angry and hugely frustrated by the current policy agenda and lack of a reasonable return from the marketplace and inadequate EU supports – all driven, caused or unaddressed by both national and EU policies.

“At this stage and in advance of the negotiations on the next CAP, it is only fair and reasonable that the minister and the government spell out clearly what their intentions are in relation to the CAP budget and schemes and actually outline – in figures – what they mean by ‘robust’.

“Does the government intend to support a substantially increased budget of the scale so clearly required, or they happy to accept a budget which has been declining over many years and which inflation has now undermined to the point where it is demonstrably unable to support farmers?” he said.

The ICMSA president said that CAP has been “completely underfunded”, particularly since the introduction of decoupling.

“The EU has a choice: to a deliver a significantly enhanced CAP budget and make a real difference in maintaining the family farm model of farming or continue the downsizing of CAP and accelerating the slide into irrelevance,” Drennan said.