Suckler funding plan hangs in the balance
Furious farmer reaction to proposed clawback of 1-1.5pc of SFP
Plans by the Department of Agriculture to fund the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme (SCWS) through a new levy on all Single Farm Payments (SFP) hung in the balance today following a furious reaction from farm organisations.
The proposal was described as "devious" and "shameless" by the ICMSA, with the organisation's president, Jackie Cahill, accusing the Department of attempting to set "farmer against farmer".
The ICSA branded the move "daylight robbery" and called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to "front up and defend agriculture at the Cabinet table".
Meanwhile, IFA president John Bryan said any changes to the SFP should only be considered as part of the overall CAP reform negotiations.
Mr Bryan said he was strongly opposed to any tampering with the SFP in the context of decisions for the upcoming Budget.
The application to hold back the SFP funds was made to the Commission under Article 68, which allows EU member states to withhold up to 10pc of payments to finance a range of schemes at national level.
The option being considered by the Department would see 1-1.5pc of all SFP monies being retained to fund the SCWS. Such a move would cost a farmer with a SFP of €10,000 between €100 and €150.
This would provide the Department with €12-18m to part-fund the SCWS, which will cost around €33m this year.