A CALL has been made for the government to ensure that the Irish share of the CAP budget is maintained.
Kerry North/Limerick West TD, Deputy Martin Ferris ( right), was speaking as negotiations on the overall budget enter a crucial stage in Brussels.
Deputy Ferris also said that the system of farm payments needs to be radically reformed in order to ensure a fairer deal for the majority of Irish farmers.
"It is first of all vital that Irish farmers are not faced with a large reduction in the overall funding. It would appear that we have key allies on at least that aspect of the negotiations on the overall budget," he said.
"It is also important that the reformed CAP introduces a fairer payments system that would guarantee a higher rate of payment for the majority of Irish farmers and thus allow them to expand production."
Deputy Ferris put forward a Sinn Féin proposal for a limit of € 100,000 on individual payments, moving towards a limit of €50,000 by 2019. He said that the proposal would also ensure that Irish farmers would receive a higher per hectare flat rate than currently proposed by the commission and thus entail fewer farmers would lose out.
"The current situation whereby just over 2,000 farmers and agri businesses on large payments receive as much as over €50,000 at the lower end is clearly inequitable and detrimental to the future viability of small to medium farm households," Deputy Ferris remarked.