Ahead of the election of a new Government today, IFA President Tim Cullinan wished Micheál Martin well in the role of Taoiseach and said he looked forward to working with him on policies to improve farm incomes and develop agriculture.
“I want to acknowledge the contribution made by Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. We will continue to work with him in his role as Tanáiste” he said.
“The partnership Government of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party is unique in our political history. Their members have given it a strong mandate and it’s important to have a stable Government in place given the challenges facing our sector. With Tanáiste Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan, Micheál Martin has a big task to lead the country forward,” he said.
“The uncertainty since the February election, and the impact of COVID-19, requires strong leadership and a focus on addressing the many issues confronting our country,” he said.
“We will be seeking an early meeting with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture to put forward IFA’s policy priorities. The two biggest threats to farming are the next CAP Budget and the negotiation of the Brexit talks,” he said.
“We are seeking an increased CAP budget to at least cover inflation and compensate farmers for any additional requirements. The proposed budget for 2021 shows we are a long from where we need to be with farmers now facing a cut in payments. IFA is also seeking the maximum permissible level of National co-financing. The Programme for Government contains no specifics on the CAP Budget or the Government contribution to Pillar II funding. We will be looking for clear commitment on this,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said that the threat to Irish agriculture from Brexit was as big as ever. “There’s a lot to be done in the coming months if we are to secure an outcome that safeguards our vital trading relationship with the UK. We will continue to work closely with the Government through the stakeholder group to pursue the issues affecting farming,” he said.
He said IFA would be putting forward a range of proposals for the Climate Action Bill which the Government have committed to introduce in their first 100 days in office.
“The Bill has to recognise our carbon efficient food production as the largest indigenous sector in the economy. The reference to biogenic methane is very important in setting the context for the role agriculture can play in climate action’ he said.
“I believe farmers are part of the climate solution and we will engage constructively on behalf of our members” he said.