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Following a high-level meeting with senior officials in DG Agri in Brussels this week, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said the EU Commission has made it very clear to IFA that the pre–checking of BPS applications in 2016 can happen, provided the facility is made available by the Department of Agriculture. He said the EU Commission said there is no reason why the Department would not facilitate Irish farmers in this way in 2016.

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IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has welcomed the decision by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to deliver on IFA’s call for matching funds to ensure that Ireland’s €13.7m share of the EU targeted aids voted on last September by the EU Agriculture Council was optimised for the benefit of Irish dairy and pig farmers under pressure.

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Speaking from Brussels after a series of high-level meetings with the EU Commission, IFA Inputs Project Team Leader and Munster Regional Chairman James McCarthy said it is critical that the Commission takes action to address market concentration and the unbalanced power held by a small number of multinational input suppliers, particularly in the fertiliser industry.

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IFA President Eddie Downey has said that Ireland’s share of the €420m targeted aid from the EU’s €500m support package announced last week, at €13.7m while welcome, is totally inadequate to deal with the income difficulties on farms at this time.

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IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has said the €500m budget of non-CAP funding supports agreed by the EU Council this week, probably mostly consisting of superlevy funds, is worthwhile. However, the uses the EU Council and Commission wish to put the fund to in the dairy sector miss out on a major opportunity to deliver a realistic floor for product prices in the context of extreme global market fluctuations EU farmers are poorly equipped to deal with. He asked: “Is the EU again playing for time and leaving farmers to await the inevitable, but slow coming, recovery?”

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