Angry rebuttal to Coveney's SFP 'flattening'
The silent majority of farmers that stand to lose over €200m of additional Single Farm Payments (SFP) if Ireland's CAP proposal succeeds began to find its voice this week as information meetings on CAP reform continued.
EU proposals on Ireland's €1.3bn SFP want to make the payments more 'equitable' by transferring €297m from farmers with the highest payments to those with the lowest.
However, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has proposed a diluted form of 'flattening' that aims to redistribute €79m or 6pc of the total amount. He has joined forces with the IFA to promote the plan which he claims is in the best interests for the majority of Ireland's farmers.
These claims were challenged at last week's CAP information meeting in Mullingar.
"How can the minister claim to be representing the best interests of the majority when the majority stands to gain most from the original proposals that he is vehemently opposed to?" asked Roscommon sheep farmer Vincent Roddy.
Mr Roddy said that the situation where the 2,047 farmers with the biggest SFPs get more than the 52,000 farmers with SFPs lower than €5,000 was an anomaly that needed to be looked at.
Ireland West MEP, Marian Harkin has also taken issue with the focus of the CAP reform debate here. "Why has the family farm been replaced with the 'productive' farm? We need to restore balance to the debate, just as we need balance when it comes to supporting farming activity in Ireland," said Ms Harkin.