Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has called on Minister Michael Creed and Commissioner Hogan to ensure that the EU CAP budget is not cut as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Deputy McConalogue says negotiations on higher contributions should be considered before any discussions on cuts to the CAP budget.
He explained, “Irish farmers will be very worried following reports about a possible reduction in the CAP budget, ahead of the upcoming budgetary negotiations. CAP is the backbone of Irish farming, with payments to Ireland making up around 75% of total farm income. Any reduction in this budget could prove catastrophic for the Irish agri-sector.
“While a UK exit from the EU will leave a €3bn hole in the CAP budget, the remaining EU 27 need to show solidarity with their primary producers. Additional contributions must be considered if the livelihoods of 22 million farmers across the continent are to be secured.
“Direct payments under CAP sustain rural communities and the family model of farming throughout Europe by providing a vital income source to European food producers.
“Fine Gael has a responsibility to stand up for Irish farmers in these negotiations. A cut to the CAP budget cannot be countenanced. The government must put a strong case forward in Europe and build support for an increase in budget contributions among the remaining EU countries”.