IFA President Tim Cullinan led an IFA delegation to meet Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin spokespeople Matt Carthy and Darren O’Rourke in Dublin last week.
Amongst the issues discussed were sectoral emissions ceilings; the Nitrates Directive; renewable energy; greater support for vulnerable sectors under the CAP, the Bill on fairness and transparency in the food chain; and the report of the Commission on Welfare and Taxation.
Speaking after the meeting, Tim Cullinan said the engagement had been constructive, with a very open discussion on policy issues.
“Mary Lou McDonald was clear that Sinn Féin sees farmers as having a crucial role to play as food producers and in the wider rural economy,” he said.
“In the short term, we discussed the need to have a proper plan for renewable energy and the need to move forward with the Bill to establish the Officer for Fairness and Transparency,” he said.
“Sinn Féin is also in favour retaining our Nitrates Derogation once it doesn’t impact on water quality,” he said.
“One area there was very strong agreement on was the need for greater supports for the beef, sheep and tillage sectors under the CAP. This Government could have done a lot to support these sectors,” he said.
“The new ACRES scheme is another example of a missed opportunity to provide a proper environment scheme at farm level which would help to make more farmers viable,” he said.