Farmers split over share out of s1.2bn Single Farm Payments
Sharp differences on the level of redistribution of the single farm payment (SFP) have emerged over the weekend.
The main farm organisations insisted that current proposals could decimate payments to commercial farmers, but farmers attending a series of meetings in the west demanded a more equitable share-out of the country's €1.2bn SFP fund.
A CAP meeting in Sligo on Sunday evening was told that farmers would oppose any agreement that continued to deliver huge payments to a minority of recipients. There were also calls at the meeting for west of Ireland farmers to withhold levies from farm organisations that did not represent their views.
The IFA has roundly condemned proposals from last week's Council of Farm Ministers meeting in Brussels that would see the front-loading of payments on what were described as the "first hectares" and also the suggestion of a minimum payment on eligible land.
IFA president John Bryan claimed that 75,000 of the 130,000 SFP recipients would face losses of between 30pc and 40pc of their payment by 2019 if the proposals touted in Brussels last week were accepted.
Mr Bryan accused Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney of being "rolled over" at the Council of Ministers meeting and of rowing back on commitments made to farmers that cuts to the SFP of individual farmers would be kept to a minimum.
"IFA is insisting that monies available for redistribution are targeted at active farmers using objective criteria, and not to landlords and inactive or hobby farmers," Mr Bryan said.