IFA President Tim Cullinan said the IFA delegation had a positive meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and a Fine Gael delegation including Minister Simon Coveney, Minister Martin Heydon and Colm Markey MEP on the margins of the Fine Gael ‘think-in’ in Limerick today.
The Taoiseach agreed to write to EU Commissioner Sinkevicius, inviting him to Ireland to meet with him, Minister Charlie McConalogue and a delegation from the sector, or for the Commissioner to meet with sector representatives in Brussels.
“The Taoiseach was clear he understood the massive impact that any cut in the Nitrates Derogation limit would have on Irish farmers and the wider sector,” he said.
On payments, the Taoiseach acknowledged the real challenges that payment delays would cause for farmers.
Minister Heydon undertook to make every effort to get the payments out as early as possible in 2023. He said if there was any possibility to get the payments out sooner than the delayed dates, it would be done.
He also committed to reverting back to the original payment dates for 2024.
“These delays are unacceptable and will cause huge problems for farmers. The ANC scheme has the same Terms and Conditions as last year and there is no excuse for them being delayed,” the President said.
The delegation also raised the conditions of the recently-announced beef welfare scheme, which have annoyed farmers, and the need to increase supports for sheep and livestock farmers.
“These issues must be addressed in the upcoming Budget. These vulnerable sectors must be supported as they are the backbone of rural Ireland,” concluded the President.