Farmers are bracing themselves for significant subsidy cuts with the proposed details of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020 to be launched in Brussels tomorrow (Fri).
The European Commission has already proposed to cut funding of the Common Agricultural Policy by 5pc (€17bn) a move which has been met with condemnation by farm organisations.
A decrease of this magnitude to the Irish CAP envelope of €1.5bn equates to around €75m.
Where the axe finally falls will be tied up in what happens to the wider 2021-27 EU budget, which is unlikely to be agreed before the end of this Commission's term in office in 2019.
Concerns have been raised that funding cuts to farming schemes such as GLAS and LEADER could be double the level of reductions imposed on the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
IFA President Joe Healy said the key issue for farmers is the size of the CAP Budget.
He said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar must make it clear at EU Heads of State level that the recent Commission proposals on the CAP Budget are a non-runner.
“The Taoiseach must insist on an increased budget to take account of inflation and the cost of any additional measures imposed on farmers.
“This point must be made forcibly by Minister Creed when he meets like-minded Ministers for Agriculture to build alliances on this issue.
“This must be followed up by the Government to ensure farmers are not left short in the Budget negotiations. The future of farming and rural Ireland is at stake,” he said.
He said IFA will be intensifying its CAP campaign as the details emerge of the legislative proposals over the next number of weeks and months. This will include lobbying MEPs and TDs.
IFA has already lobbied over 80 TDs and Senators at national level.
Joe Healy also said the IFA is very clear that direct payments should go to active farmers based on objective criteria on agricultural production and the provision of public goods.
An old professor of mine would often contrast the Ireland of his youth with the Ireland of his students. "I was brought up at a time," he would say, "when the Pope's triple tiara, a Kerryman's football boot and the rosary beads were equal symbols of the Roman Catholic Church."