Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 April 2018

Will Irish tax payers be forced to pay more to keep payments to farmers?

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has raised the possibility of the Government exchequer having to make up for a shortfall in the EU's agriculture budget.

Speaking at a Teagasc open day for Dairy Farmers in Cork today, the Minister highlighted that the UK contributes €10 billion per annum into the EU budget of which 40pc goes to find payments to EU farmers under the Common Agriculture Policy. 

"We are, like the UK, a net contributor to the EU now", he said.

The Minister highlighted that the multiplier effect in the rural community of the payments that come from the EU, most significantly the Single Farm Payment, is hugely important to those areas and said if that were to be cut would cause significant damage.

"The big issue that needs to be addressed is 'should we be equally prepared to contribute extra to the CAP budget?'

"It is a fair question, but it is one that would not be useful to contribute to know. Where we run ahead of the fair with our hands up and saying we'll pay more.

"But given the multiplier effect on rural economy, it is a fair question we shouldn't shy away from," he said.

Minister Creed went on to stress that its important not to conflate the reform of Common Agricultural Policy and the Brexit issue.

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"The last thing we should look for in the context of Brexit is the EU to pull out a cheque book and write a cheque as kind of a compensation for the damage of Brexit," he said.

"What we want clearly and unapologetically in the context of Brexit is the right structural outcome," he said.

The Minister also signaled the possibility of halting the reform of the CAP until after Brexit.

"I find it difficult to believe we can conclude the next CAP reform process while we are trying to deal with Brexit that will have an impact on the budget available for CAP," he said.

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