Farmers told to reject MEP candidates that not willing to 'fight' for farmers

Dr Edel Kelly, IFA Chief Economist flanks IFA President Joe Healy at the launch of IFA Manifesto for the European Parliament & Local Government Elections in Dublin. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Dr Edel Kelly, IFA Chief Economist flanks IFA President Joe Healy at the launch of IFA Manifesto for the European Parliament & Local Government Elections in Dublin. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The IFA has told its over 80,000 members that it is vital that farmers vote for candidates who will be willing to ‘fight on their backs’ for Irish farmers.

Launching the IFA Manifesto for the European Parliament and Local Government Elections in Dublin today (Wed), IFA President Joe Healy said those elected as MEPs for Ireland next month will have some far-reaching decisions to make about the future of Irish agriculture.

Joe Healy said that the major decisions on the shape of the next Common Agricultural Policy and the future trading relationship between the EU and UK will be made during lifetime of the new European Parliament.

“It is vital that farmers vote for candidates who will be willing to ‘fight on their backs’ for Irish farmers,” he said.

On Brexit, Mr. Healy says that while the Withdrawal Agreement is proving to be a very challenging process, the future trading relationship with the UK had the potential to be even more complex and will have huge consequences for Ireland.

Joe Healy said despite Brexit, the proposed EU budget for 2021 to 2027 is higher due to a proposed increase in contributions from the remaining 27 Member States. Yet, the proposed CAP budget is down by 5%, or €97m per annum in Ireland. When the EU proxy inflation rate of 2% is factored in the real impact would be 17%.

“The EU is downgrading the importance of agriculture and food production in favour of other programmes. Under the Commission proposals, the CAP budget will be less than 30% of the overall EU budget, down from almost 60% in the mid 80’s. This has to stop. We need an increase to take account of inflation and the additional asks placed on farmers as a result of the reform,” he said.

The Manifesto also deals with services and issues for farm families and rural communities, including broadband, rural crime, roads and planning.

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