‘A minister without a mandate is currently pushing for an end to convergence’

“A minister without a mandate is currently pushing for an end to the convergence of farm payments.”

This is according to independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan, who made the comment while discussing the proposed Programme for Government.

“So, even before the respective parties have voted on the Programme for Government, it has already been reneged upon. Their promise to protect the small family farm will mean nothing.”

Flanagan had the following questions to ask of a future government:
  • Who is directing agricultural policy in Ireland?
  • In whose interests are decisions being taken?
  • Which priorities are regarded as paramount – protecting an elite or serving the majority with fairness and equity?

“These are pertinent questions – that deserve answers – that arise from the actions of the minister during the negotiations on the transitional regulation,” he said.

Farm subsidy reforms

“This is a regulation designed to act as a bridge between the current Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] reform, due to expire at the end of this year, and the new reform that’s not yet ready for implementation.”

He explained: “In this process the parliament, having adopted amendments that I had tabled for, called for continued convergence of Pillar I payments during the transition period.

“At the ongoing trilogue negotiations Minister Creed and others are blocking this proposal. They are insisting that convergence remains optional during the transitional period.

“The Green Party must explain why it is letting this happen, while Government negotiations are still ongoing. Convergence of payments would benefit the majority of farmers in Ireland…with knock-on benefits for the wider rural economy.”

He said:

We have heard many fine words recently in the wake of the publication of the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategies about the need to support sustainable farming practices. Unfortunately, it appears that these are empty, hollow words.

“Actions speak louder than words. It is blatant hypocrisy to be publicly praising the virtues of the family farm system at home, while simultaneously opposing any change to a discredited outdated system in Brussels,” he added.

“Can the Green Party please explain how we can take the Programme for Government seriously when its proposed coalition partner is busy in the background – making sure that when it comes to agriculture nothing will change.”