Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the comments by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney regarding the proposed deal on CAP Reform will do little to allay the fears of many thousands of farmers in this country.
“There is still potential to minimise cuts to farmers with above average payments while leaving the door open for increased payments to active farmers who are currently below the average,” Deputy McGrath said.
Noting the cautious welcome offered to the deal by the IFA, Deputy McGrath said it was still the case that many farmers feel betrayed over the proposed agreements reached.
“The institutionalized systematic discrimination of farmers who find themselves on low or no payments as a result of the historical date reference payment method looks like it will continue.”
The fundamental objective of the present reform of the common agricultural policy is redistribution. To bring to an end to what has amounted to a deliberate and positive discrimination in favour of the largest and wealthiest farmers in the manner in which the payments have been disbursed.
“This policy which has been in operation since 2003 has worked to the detriment of 80% of Irish farmers and in particular detriment to the 7.000 plus farmers who were left with no payments at all,” Deputy McGrath observed.
While a number of elements in the package remain unacceptable - in particular the absence of a speedy move towards common area payments, Deputy McGrath said his hope was that this would be an element of the discussions that could be improved on.
“The only glimmer of hope is that the decisions reached by member states also provided important flexibilities for Ireland. Whether they amount to anything we will have to wait and see,” Deputy McGrath concluded with.