Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary & Spokesperson on Food and Horticulture Jackie Cahill has warned that any cut to CAP will have a hugely detrimental impact on Irish farm incomes.

Deputy Cahill is calling for the CAP budget to be maintained as part of the overall EU budget, which is being discussed by government leaders. The talks at the weekend ended without agreement.

“I am increasingly concerned that despite Ireland’s position to maintain the EU budget, all indications are that significant cuts will be introduced. The disagreement over the budget led to a breakdown in talks over the weekend, and the possibility of a budget cut is becoming an ever-increasing reality”, said Deputy Cahill.

“If the budget is cut, it will have very serious consequences for Irish farmers and producers. EU consumers rightly expected high standards of food production, and CAP payments were used to help support farmers meet these specifications. However, any cuts to the payment will squeeze food producers even further and may even act as an impediment to meeting the current specifications.

“Producers also feel aggrieved that while they are expected to meet these exacting standards, the EU is bending the rules – particularly with regard to the Mercosur deal, which will allow beef from South America be imported into Europe.

“Irish farmers are being expected to do more with less and it’s becoming more difficult for them to continue. Back in the 1970s, 70% of the EU budget went towards CAP; that’s now fallen to less than 30%.

“We need to get back to basics – CAP was designed to support the primary producer and allow them to produce the highest standard food products at an affordable price for the EU consumer. Ireland needs to ensure that these principles are maintained so that Irish producers and consumers are protected”, concluded Deputy Cahill.