Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, will embark upon a series of meetings throughout the country in the coming weeks to gauge people’s opinions on CAP reform.
“The most important issue for farmers at present is CAP reform as this will have a long-term effect on the future of farming in Ireland,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“There is a need for an open debate on all of the ramifications of the various proposals put forward to-date in relation to CAP reform. Many farmers are still unaware of the various alternatives, including the options put forward by the Commissioner, Mr Ciolous, the option put forward by Minister Simon Coveney and the option put forward by the Rapporteur of the European Parliament, Carlouos Santus. In each case there are winners and losers, but what is absolutely vital is that the ordinary farmers of Ireland have an input in the direction that future policies should take.
“It is not possible to get a consensus from farmers by attending four regional meetings as the Minister has done. Farmers in more isolated areas found it impossible to attend these and it is my intention, therefore, to criss-cross the country over the coming months, speaking at public meetings organised by Fianna Fáil and listening to farmers in relation to CAP Reform and other agricultural interests.”
Deputy Ó Cuív said he has open mind as to the final formulation that CAP Reform should take and believes it is far too early in the negotiations to come down in favour of any particular proposal.
“I think it is vital at this stage that we start considering the options and getting as good a consensus as possible for a way forward that will be good for the vast majority of Irish farmers and good for Irish agriculture.
“Minister Simon Coveney seems to believe that the only productive farmers in Ireland are large farmers with large payments. 70% of the farmers in Ireland receive a single payment of less than €10,000 with 90% receiving a payment of less than €25,000. Does the Minister not see any future for these farmers in agriculture and is he ignoring the huge contribution these farmers do and will make to the total outcome of Irish agriculture?
“We must move away from the situation where a very small number of farmers get a disproportionate amount of public money to subsidise their farm enterprises. For example, the top 2% of farmers that receive Single Payment get 12% of the Single Payment money.
“I will look forward to a robust debate on these issues and active participation by farmers in formulating policies,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.