IFA warns EU commissioner on issue over reforms

Friday 21 September 2012 15.47
EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos on a visit to Ardee, Co Louth this afternoon
EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos on a visit to Ardee, Co Louth this afternoon

EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has been warned by the IFA that he is heading for a major confrontation with Ireland over his proposed spending reforms.

Mr Ciolos was on a visit to Ardee, Co Louth this afternoon.

He was told by the IFA leader John Bryan that there is growing anger and frustration over his failure to address Irish concerns.

The latest round of reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy are currently under negotiation and are expected to be agreed during Ireland's Presidency of the EU next year.

At present, Ireland gets €1.25bn for the single annual payment to farmers and €350m for rural development measures.

But this afternoon, Mr Bryan accused the commissioner of intransigence and described the current proposals as unacceptable.

He said they will seriously damage Irish agricultural production and family farming.

At a meeting in Ardee Mart, Mr Bryan described as "senseless" the commissioner's proposals for flat-rate payments and regionalisation.

He said these proposals are a direct attack on the most productive farmers as they show no understanding of Irish farming, which is highly diverse, with major differences in farming enterprises, land capacity and market returns.

He said the commissioner's proposal for regionalisation would undermine production in every county in Ireland.

Mr Bryan said Commissioner Ciolos must take on board the damaging effect of his flat-rate proposals on Irish farming, and now come forward with amendments that strictly limit the redistribution imposed on active farmers.

The commissioner was in Ardee at the invitation of Leinster MEP Mairead McGuinness.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association, Gabriel Gilmartin told the Commissioner that the level of support for farmers must be maintained in real terms, taking inflation into account.

Mr Gilmartin urged the Commissioner to be flexible in his approach to the CAP talks, and to accept that a flat rate payment by 2019 would not work in Ireland.

This would maximise the chances of getting the deal done under the Irish presidency of the EU next year.