Addressing a crowd of over 700 farmers in Kilkenny this evening, IFA President Joe Healy said there must be an increase in the next CAP Budget to improve farm incomes, to reflect inflation and to fill the hole left by Brexit.
The IFA President issued a strong message to the Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan: “As Commissioner, your job is to fight like hell for an increase in the CAP Budget. And you cannot accept anything less in Brussels”.
Joe Healy said this is the biggest challenge Commissioner Hogan will face in Brussels and the outcome will have a major impact in Ireland. “Irish farmers are depending on the Commissioner to deliver.”
Joe Healy, who was speaking at an IFA/EU Civil Dialogue, said the decision next month at EU level when the Budget is set will have significant ramifications for the farming and food sector in this country. “We need an increased CAP Budget to take account of inflation. Member States must raise their contributions. The majority of Member States have indicated that they will do this. The task for the Irish Government and the Commissioner to get the others on board and deliver an increase.”
The IFA President said Irish farmers cannot be punished again following the UK decision to leave the EU. “Our solidarity with Europe has been recognised since we joined in 1973. It’s now time for this to be recognised in a tangible way with an increased Budget after 2020. Our farmers cannot be worse off because of Brexit.”
Mr Healy said direct payments are a vital lifeline for farmers, in many cases accounting for 100% of their income. He welcomed the absolute commitment from the Commissioner that he would do everything in his power to protect the CAP Budget.