Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has accused the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue of “actively working against the majority of Farmers on CAP”.
Speaking on the issue of CAP negotiations remaining unresolved, Deputy Kerrane said: “Currently, farmers are paid Direct Payments under CAP based on production levels from two decades ago.
“Most EU countries have already moved to a flat rate payment per hectare, a process that would benefit the majority of farmers here. A total of 60% of farms here would get more. Yet, the Minister is not seeking this, nor is he seeking front-loaded payments to benefit smaller farmers, or a cap on the upper limits of CAP. In fact, he is actively working against any such fairness for farmers here when it comes to CAP distribution.
“The Minister is playing a very different tune to when he was in opposition. CAP is a critical income support for farmers, however, the current distribution of CAP does not benefit the small-to-medium farmer. In fact, last year €3.6 million in Direct payments went to just twenty farm enterprises. Some individuals are receiving payments of over €400,000, while many farmers in Galway are receiving less than €10,000 and much less in many instances”.
The Sinn Féin TD said that her party wants CAP payments to be redistributed.
“We believe that there should be a maximum upper limit payment of €60,000 and we believe that payments should be front-loaded to protect small and medium sized farms,” she said.
“Charlie McConalogue has joined a long line of Irish Agriculture Ministers who have been opposed to the redistribution of CAP funds that would benefit small-to-medium farmers. The Minister should stop hiding and come into the Dáil to explain exactly what he is looking for Irish Farmers in Europe,” she concluded.