'Entitlements today relative to 20 years ago, bear little or no resemblance' - Creed

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has responded to criticism of the continued use of references years in formulating farmers' EU farm payments.

"I have heard that criticism of the reference years, but looking at agriculture and entitlements today relative to 20 years ago, they bear little or no resemblance.

"Bearing in mind that, under the CAP, more than €100 million will have moved from farmers with high per hectare entitlements to farmers below the average level of entitlements," he said.

Minster Creed said that it his view that the journey of convergence will continue.

"It will be external, in that other member states will be looking for a greater share of the cake, and internal, in that, whatever the size of cake we get, there will be greater convergence.

"I have heard some people mention upward-only convergence, which baffles me to an extent as something of an oxymoron.

"There will be a continuation of the journey of convergence, however, which represents a greater equalisation and sharing out the spoils of the Common Agricultural Policy between all farmers," he said.

It comes as Former Fianna Fail spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív said this week that "it is incredible that in 2027, we will be basing single farm payments on something that happened in 2000 or 2001.

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he said it is equivalent to basing grants in 1960 on what happened in 1933. "It is the same timespan. Nobody in his or her right senses would say there had not been monumental change in that time.

"One of the monumental changes in our time that is often ignored is the issue of high-nature value farming. If one does not farm high-nature low-productive areas, in purely agricultural production terms, Europe will not be willing to fund the CAP," he said.

In its most recent CAP proposals, which would govern the CAP from 2020, the European Commission is proposing a reduction of payments above €60,000, with compulsory capping for payments above €100,000.

This, it says, is designed to ensure a fairer distribution of payments, with the saved monies being used to fund small and medium-sized farmers.

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