Speaking after the Farmers’ Charter of Rights meeting in Portlaoise today, IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe completely rejected any proposed delay in farm payments under the new CAP. He called for an independent Chair to oversee meaningful negotiations.
‘What we had today with the Department was not a negotiation. We were basically presented with a proposed payment schedule and essentially it was a case of take it or leave it,” he said.
“We need to go back to the drawing board here, appoint an independent Chair to manage negotiations and first establish the core principles to underpin the new Charter before we even get into the nitty gritty of any individual schemes. We fully appreciate the added complexity of the new CAP, for all involved, but it cannot always be the farmer who loses out. Farm schemes are just too important. The Charter has proven it can work, for the mutual benefit of all, but we’ve started on the wrong foot here,” he said.
IFA Rural Development Chair Michael Biggins said farmers, particularly those in the vulnerable sectors, simply cannot afford any delay in farm payments. It’s proposed the ANC, for example, would be pushed back to mid-October. It normally lands the week of the Ploughing every year. September is always an expensive month with children going back to school/college etc.
“It’s just not acceptable. The scheme is basically the same as it was in the old CAP. It seems it’s all to accommodate AMS and 100% inspection, when 5% was deemed satisfactory previously. Farmers’ rights are not being considered. We need open dialogue and practical solutions. Today, Department officials left with the clear message that IFA would not accept any delay in farm payments,” he said.
The next Charter of Rights meeting is expected in early April.