‘Irish farmers shouldn’t be penalised for the UK’s decision to leave the EU’

Loyal Irish farmers shouldn’t be penalised for the UK’s decision to leave the EU, according to the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Joe Healy.

Healy made the comments as the IFA hosted an event in Dublin last week to underline the importance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to Oireachtas members.

Speaking to AgriLand, Healy said: “We have made it clear to any commissioner that we have met, or any EU politicians, that they cannot allow a situation to develop where countries like Ireland – who have remained loyal to the EU – are worse off or penalised as a result of a country who decides to vote and get out of the EU.

It’s up to our negotiators and our politicians to show their loyalty back to us, just like we have shown to the European vision.

The IFA president indicated that “the ball is very much in their court” to fight and get the best deal possible for farmers.

Continuing, he said: “We’ve taken enough cuts; we can’t have commissioners or a commission that leaves farmers worse off in the likes of Ireland, that want to remain part of the EU, as a result of the UK, who decided to leave.

We’re not accepting any cuts. We have seen, indirectly through the lack of indexation, our CAP payments being cut quite a bit.

“I know a number of small farmers who had high entitlements per hectare and those high entitlements have reduced over the last number of years; it still didn’t translate into a high single farm payment for them, because they hadn’t got the hectares.”

Healy argued that those farmers can’t afford to face another cut – particularly when you see the amount of demands that are put on farmers in relation to traceability and managing their production from farm to fork.

“There are huge costs associated with the increase in the demands for traceability, quality assurance and safe food,” the president concluded.