Speaking after the conclusion of the EU Council summit this morning, Holly Cairns TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Agriculture, said:

“In real terms, CAP for the next seven years is going to be down by about 9%, which is worrying for Ireland’s agricultural sector.

“It is essential that the Government devises strategies to maintain payments and incentivise sustainable practices. This is a difficult time for the sector as it comes against a backdrop of low prices for many primary producers, the potential shock of a hard Brexit, and the climate and biodiversity crisis.

“While we’re waiting on full details of the new CAP budget for the next seven years, we do know that €7.5bn instead of the €15bn referred to in the first draft has been added to Pillar 2- the CAP’s rural development policy. This reduction will raise concerns among rural communities and for farm families. Ireland will receive a top up payment for Pillar 2 environmental expenditure, though we await details of how this will be managed.

Deputy Cairns added: “There is an emphasis on the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies in the EU agreement but these schemes need to properly support farmers in a just transition towards sustainable farming. We urgently need a comprehensive strategy, involving all stakeholders, in particular rural communities, to develop a common vision of where the farming sector needs to move to over the next decade, and to agree how supports are structured  so that the burden of necessary changes don’t fall unfairly on some sectors.

July 21, 2020

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