18 Jun 2014
IFA PRESIDENT MEETS TAOISEACH TO DISCUSS KEY AGRI ISSUESPresident
IFA President Eddie Downey has held detailed and constructive discussions with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny on a wide range of issues, including CAP implementation, the beef crisis, trade talks, funding for farm schemes in this year’s Budget, retailer legislation and the agri-taxation review.
Eddie Downey said, “Our key message for the Taoiseach was that agriculture has a number of priorities which require urgent Government attention to allow the sector continue its central role in the economy in driving output, jobs and exports”.
The IFA President said on CAP implementation, the Rural Development Programme that will be submitted to Brussels in the coming weeks must iron out a number of issues to ensure the effective implementation of new farm schemes. Eddie Downey said a resolution to the Sheep Grassland difficulty has to be found and proper funding must be secured in this year’s Budget to allow payments under GLAS and TAMS to be made in 2015.
Ahead of the visit of the US Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vilsack later this week, Mr Downey said any outcome on the TTIP negotiations cannot be allowed to damage Irish agriculture and he urged the Taoiseach to adopt a robust stance during the talks. He welcomed the Taoiseach’s commitment to resist a damaging Mercosur trade deal that is being pursued by Commission President Barroso and Commissioner de Gucht.
The IFA President said the agri-taxation review underway is an opportunity to address structural issues by improving land mobility, encourages the timely transfer of land and addresses income volatility as a result of weather events and sharp price fluctuations.
Eddie Downey expressed dissatisfaction at the content of retailer regulations and pressed the Taoiseach to include IFA’s amendments in the final legislation.
Mr Downey also highlighted the need to re-focus the CAP on active, productive farmers and said Ireland should take the opportunity in the next Commission to pursue the Agriculture portfolio.