At the IFA national council meeting to discuss the EU Budget talks and the importance of securing CAP funding for Ireland, Deputy IFA president Brian Rushe; IFA president Tim Cullinan; North Tipperary
The chair of North Tipperary IFA Imelda Walsh has said that the association will fight “tooth and nail” for the CAP budget.
The pledge comes following an IFA national council meeting focussed heavily on the upcoming round of CAP negotiations.
The meeting was called after the most recent EU Council Summit, called to agree a new seven-year EU budget broke up without agreement.
If the proposal had been adopted, the CAP budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) would be €59bn less than the previous period (2014-2020).
This would translate into an approximate €100m per annum cut to Irish payments. When inflation is taken into account, it will be a €1bn hit on Irish farmers over the period of the next CAP.
“CAP payments and schemes delivered €1.8bn to Irish farmers last year. This is fundamental to the viability and sustainability of Irish farms. Dropping €100m per year would have a devastating effect for farmers in County Tipperary, who are already under huge pressure,” said Ms Walsh.
She said that Irish and EU farmers had a “savage battle” ahead to try and turn this proposal around.
IFA is a member of the European farm umbrella body COPA and, through its office in Brussels, is working with them and its sister farm organisations across Europe to ignite a campaign on CAP funding.
“We must battle together to avoid our sector being devastated by these savage cuts,” said Ms Walsh.
She warned that there will be a time, very shortly, when IFA will be calling on every farmer to come together to give a strong message to our politicians at home and in Brussels.
“We will need all farmers and I will be urging all farmers from County Tipperary to put their shoulder to the wheel on this most critical matter. We must present a united front, not just in Ireland, but across Europe,” said Ms Walsh.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said that the EU wanted to put more emphasis on the environment and biodiversity in the new CAP.
“They want farmers to do more and more, but they want to pay us less and less. It is a total non-runner and we have to fight this cut every step of the way,” he said.
Mr Cullinan said that the reality was that farmers needed an increase in their payments that must at least cover inflation and the cost of any additional asks being made of farmers.
“We need to get the €1.8bn up to €2bn,” said the Toomevara farmer.
He said that farmers should make no apology for CAP funding.
“We supply high-quality, safe food at affordable prices for the consumer. We contribute to maintaining the environment and supporting the rural economy. The payments we receive are not ‘handouts’, as some describe them. They are payments for producing the most important product of all: food,” said Mr Cullinan.