Taoiseach needs to ‘stand firm’ on CAP allocation as talks continue – IFA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin needs to “stand firm” during negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

IFA president Tim Cullinan said it is “vital that Martin takes a strong stand at the marathon EU negotiations in Brussels” as talks continue today, Monday, July 20.

‘Farmers need the Taoiseach to stand firm’

This comes after the announcement of a proposed €5 billion cut to the CAP budget, according to the IFA.

“Farmers need the Taoiseach to stand firm on CAP,” Cullinan said.

“As outlined by the IFA over the weekend, the latest draft proposals show a €5 billion reduction in the allocation for the rural development (Pillar 2) element compared to the draft document before the talks.”

The IFA said that along with this proposed cut being “unacceptable”, there are also “real concerns about the allocation to Pillar 1 which supports the Basic Payment Scheme [BPS]”.

“The EU allocation for Pillar 1 must ensure that the BPS is at least maintained for every farmer during the transition period and beyond,” Cullinan continued.

The IFA wants an increase in payments to account for inflation and any extra asks on farmers. If we end up with cuts in the BPS it would be a shocking failure for the new government.

The IFA believes that the current allocation for Pillar 1 at its current level is “insufficient to maintain the BPS”.

“The time for fudging figures has long passed. The Taoiseach must be crystal clear on this point before he leaves Brussels,” Cullinan said.

Meanwhile, it is Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary’s first EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting today and Cullinan added that it is “vital Calleary also delivers a strong message about CAP funding”.

‘The Erosion And Devaluation Of Payments’

Earlier today, AgriLand reported that the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to ensure that the level of CAP payments is maintained.

President of the ICMSA Pat McCormack said that “the relentless erosion and devaluation of payments must end”.

He added: “Downward pressure on direct payments to farmers disadvantages Ireland disproportionately”.