McConalogue calls on FF party members to support ‘transformative programme for agriculture’

The Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has called for his fellow party members to support the Programme for Government – to implement a “transformative programme for agriculture”.

He said: “Fianna Fáil entered into these negotiations with an understanding of just how difficult it has been for farmers and their families in recent years. Beef prices are at an all time low. Brexit and proposed trade deals have left farmers fearing for their future.

The establishment of a National Food Ombudsman [NFO] will enforce the Unfair Trading Practices Directive. This new authority will enforce EU-wide rules on prohibited unfair trading practices.

“We have also secured the setting up of an Independent Agriculture Appeals Review panel in legislation. We will ensure the panel includes participants with practical knowledge and experience of farming.

He added: “Safeguarding the family model of farming is pivotal to the rural economy. Sectoral supports in beef, sheep and dairy are central tenants of this draft Programme for Government.”

McConalogue said Fianna Fáil is committed to building upon schemes such as:
  • Areas of Natural Constraint;
  • Beef Data and Genomics Programme;
  • Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Suckler;
  • Knowledge Transfer Scheme;
  • Sheep Welfare Scheme.

“We will seek reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] to reward farmers for sequestering carbon and restoring biodiversity. We will introduce a new cap on basic payments and we will seek to resolve – under the next CAP – the issue of the ‘Forgotten Farmers’.

Securing a new Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) type programme is crucial. This will include farmers not currently in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme [GLAS].

“Those who previously participated in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and those exiting GLAS will see a review of the means-test for Farm Assist.”