Deputy presidential candidate in the ongoing Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) elections Thomas Cooney has called on the new Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski, to reverse the current proposals to cut the next CAP budget.

He further outlined that if the current CAP is to be rolled over for two years, “all farm schemes must be protected until the new CAP is in place”.

Speaking as the second week of voting in the IFA elections gets underway, Cooney noted: “The Government must increase co-funding to Pillar II schemes and develop a new agri-environmental scheme of up to €10,000/farm.

The Irish Government is currently putting 46% (€262 million) into Pillar II of the CAP and this figure must be increased.

The beef and dairy farmer from Co. Cavan added: “The Pillar II schemes currently in place provide vital income supports for farmers who cannot afford to take a cut in any of these schemes.

“When the CAP post 2020 negotiations reconvene, the new BPS must compliment Ireland’s sustainable model of farming and support the low income sectors such as beef, sheep and tillage.

The suckler cow and the ewe must be supported with schemes of €200/cow and €30/ewe respectively.

Concluding, Cooney said: “The Government must continually be reminded of the the importance of agriculture to Ireland and be reminded that it was agriculture that carried Ireland out of the last recession.”