Leaving 'will hit EU farm payments'
The farm income crisis is set to deepen as EU payment schemes "are likely to take a hit" if the Brexit referendum is passed in the UK this week, an agricultural economist has warned.
Dr Kevin Hanrahan, agricultural economist with Teagasc, says the farming sector in general is at risk.
"If they were to vote to leave that would have a negative impact on the EU budget and on the budget for agriculture. I think it would have a negative impact on the direct payments of income support levels that the CAP provides to farmers," he said. "I don't think it would be very dramatic, but it would be negative and might mean the share of the EU budget that gets devoted to agriculture gets reduced from 40pc," he said.
Noting that a large chunk of the money goes directly into farmers' pockets, he added: "There is no doubt in the short run the CAP has supported farmer incomes, but in the longer run there is somewhat of a dependency culture inculcated in Irish agriculture." He says the biggest fall-out for Ireland would be losing our most important ally at the table where decisions are made in Brussels.
Dr Hanrahan will air his view on a UK referendum special on community channel Irish TV tonight