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'Still time to debate CAP'

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EU Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos and Agriculture minister, Simon Coveney pictured together last year. Photo: Damien Eagers

EU Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos and Agriculture minister, Simon Coveney pictured together last year. Photo: Damien Eagers

EU Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos and Agriculture minister, Simon Coveney pictured together last year. Photo: Damien Eagers

IRISH farmers still have time to debate and influence how CAP reform can best be implemented in this country, the European Commission's Agriculture Commissioner told the Farming Independent yesterday.

"It's not too late for countries to be deciding how to change their systems, even from a practical viewpoint of the work required," said Commissioner Dacian Ciolos. "I know there are many member states still to decide and they have time because the deadline is not until August 1."

The commissioner was speaking in his home country Romania where he is visiting farms to see the impact of CAP funding on farmers there.

Meanwhile, more than 250 farmers from Roscommon and surrounding counties attended a CAP action meeting in Ballinlough last Sunday.

Speakers raised the possibility of taking a case to the European Commission's Petitions' Committee to challenge the Department of Agriculture's proposals on the 30pc 'greening' payments.

Rather than the flat 'greening' payment being proposed by other member states, the Department is set to introduce an individualised payment based on a farmer's existing single payment.

MEP Marian Harkin, who attended the meeting, said she believed there were grounds for a challenge under the commission's fairness legislation.

Organised by local farmers opposed to the current CAP reform proposals, the meeting was also attended by Fianna Fail's agriculture spokesman éamon ó Cuív, Independent TD Ming Flanagan and members of the IFA, ICSA, ICMSA and other groups. Fine Gael politicians were invited but none attended.

Deputy ó Cuív continues his consultations at 8.30pm on Thursday at the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon.

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