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IFA President Joe Healy said that the CAP transition measures proposed in an EU Commission document are likely to result in 4% cut in every farmers’ direct payment in October 2020, with further more severe cuts in farm schemes under pillar 2.

“Farmers cannot afford to take these cuts; the Taoiseach and the Minister must put their foot down now and say they will not accept it,” he said.

“Because the EU will not be able to get new CAP rules in place in time for 2020, they plan to keep the old CAP but apply the new EU budget proposed by the Commission last year. This will see a cut of €47m or 4% on pillar 1 Direct Payments and €48m or 15% in pillar 2 which covers farm schemes such as GLAS and ANC,” said Joe Healy.

This results in a total cut amounting to €97m/year to Irish farmers without taking account of inflation. “This proposed new budget has not been approved by member states or the European Parliament. IFA is clear if the rules are staying the same the budget must stay the same,” he said.

“The Commission mantra of ‘old rules, new money’ will not wash. If it’s the same rules then it should be the same money. Indeed, with the UK expected to leave the EU next year, the Commission is looking at a saving in the CAP Budget of up to €4bn pa, they cannot justify these cuts in light of this,” he said.

“There are currently 37,000 farmers in GLAS who are finishing next year. They need an extension to continue with their commitments. The full protection of all rural development schemes including ANCs and TAMS must be ensured. The CAP should roll over with no cuts to any scheme or any farmer payments.”

“The Taoiseach has been telling farmers he ‘has their back’. It is now time for him to show he means this by rejecting this money saving manoeuvre by the Commission,” said the IFA President.

IFA President Joe Healy has given a cautious welcome to the Brexit deal concluded in Brussels between the EU Commission and the UK Government, however the real test is the vote in the UK Parliament in Westminster on Saturday.

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At a meeting in Brussels this week, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods was re-elected Chairman of the EU Commission Civil Dialogue Group on Animal Products.

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IFA President Joe Healy said the appointment of Phil Hogan as EU Trade Commissioner comes at a critical time for the farming and food sectors here.

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IFA Inputs Project Team Leader John Coughlan has accused Fertilizer Europe (FE) of seriously undermining the competitiveness of EU agriculture and destroying farmers’ incomes.  He called on Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) members to vote against the Commission’s proposal to impose antidumping (AD) measures on UAN next Tuesday.

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