As the EU Budget negotiations continue in Brussels, farmers are maintaining their sit-in protest in the European Commission offices in Dublin this morning, highlighting their concerns that the CAP Budget will be slashed.
Speaking in Brussels, IFA President John Bryan said, “Some progress was made during last night’s discussions to resist the threat to CAP funding, following fresh proposals from President van Rompuy. However, Ireland would still face massive cuts that would have a very negative impact on the agriculture sector. The Taoiseach must build on the alliance with the French President Francois Hollande and others, and insist on a fully-funded CAP from 2014 to 2020”.
John Bryan said, “The Common Agriculture Policy is a critical support for Irish farming, underpinning farm incomes and production. For consumers, it provides a guarantee of a secure supply of quality, sustainable food produced to the highest animal welfare, food safety and environmental standards”.
“Farm income figures are estimated to drop by 22% in 2012, which clearly shows the critical importance of Direct Payments in underpinning farm incomes. The reality is that Direct Payments from Europe will account for more than 90% of farm incomes this year. In order to preserve the family farm model, it is essential that our Single Farm Payment and Rural Development are maintained.”
Mr Bryan said he has spoken at length with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday, where he re-iterated the importance of farming and food to the Irish economy, and how farm production relies on a strong CAP. He said, “The Government must devote all its resources to preserving the EU Budget at existing levels to ensure the viability of the Irish farming sector and allow it achieve the growth targets in Food Harvest 2020”.