Fianna Fáil Agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív is urging farmers to put pressure on Minister Coveney to deliver a fair Common Agricultural Policy later this year.  Replying to a parliamentary question from Deputy Ó Cuív in the Dáil, the Minister confirmed that he’s to publish a draft proposal on CAP next week.

“Farmers have one final opportunity to demand a fair CAP deal before Minister Coveney heads to Brussels with his proposals.  As they currently stand, small family farmers will be at a major disadvantage because of funding cuts.  The Minister is standing over the first ever reduction in CAP funding with a 3% cut in Pillar 1 and a 14% cut in Pillar 2”, commented Deputy Ó Cuív.

“This decision will have a huge impact on individual farmers and farming communities for years to come, and it’s absolutely vital that farmers speak up now and ensure that the total CAP policy is a fair one.

“Minister Coveney has given an undertaking to consider submissions from farmers and farming groups on his final proposals before he submits them to Brussels at the end of June.  That leaves less than two months for farmers to express their concerns and make their views known.  It’s imperative that those who are unhappy with the existing unfair proposals act now.

“Small family farmers across the country are already finding conditions within the industry extremely challenging, and these new measures have the potential to tip many farmers over the edge.  Small farmers have already been subjected to massive cuts under this Government, with changes to the Farm Assist Scheme, Single Farm Payment and now the reduction in CAP funding.  These cuts are being compounded by higher operational costs and lower prices for produce.  Over the past three years this Minister has chosen to ignore the plight of the small family farmer in favour of larger business interests.

“I’m appealing to Minister Coveney to listen to these farmers.  He should be attending public meetings around the country to discuss his proposals with the people who will be most affected by them.  He has only attended one meeting so far this year.  It’s time he met these farmers, hear what they have to say, and take their concerns on board when he’s finalising these proposals”.