The EU will have a “central role to play in the future of Irish farming”.

That’s according to Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe. He made the comment when speaking on EuroParlRadio, during a discussion with Karen Coleman about the European Union’s new Green Deal.

This deal aims to transform the 27 member states from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy over the next few decades.

In particular, Cuffe noted that it was “good news” that the EU will still give the same amount of money to the farming sector. However, he said that the money will have to be used in more innovative ways than is seen currently. He also called for more diversification with regard to farming outputs.

He explained:

We will see a move away from being completely reliant on cattle exports and dairy.

He called for the EU to step up its support to the agricultural sector, as he believes Irish farmers will need a lot of financial support to make new changes required by the EU.

He also believes there will be a bigger push with regard to the use of forestry and tourism, in an effort to boost the economy over the coming years.

“EU money for farmers will have to be used in more innovative ways,” he said.

‘Quite an effort to get it across the line’

Cuffe also spoke about progress-to-date on a deal involving the newly-announced Programme For Government.

“It is quite an effort to get it across the line from the Green Party point of view,” he said.

He added:

13 years ago [going into a coalition] we had 81% approval and we were backed by a majority. I certainly don’t think it will be as high this time.

He added that he hadn’t heard any similar rumblings in either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, but he did say that the public are often “once bitten; twice shy”.

When specifically asked his opinion on whether the programme will be passed, he said: “My gut says yes, but my brain says maybe.”