Thursday 23 January 2020

Farmers occupy European Commission offices in Dublin in protest over subsidies threat

Farmers have held protests against the CAP
Farmers have held protests against the CAP

Aideen Sheehan

FARMERS have vowed to continue occupying European Commission offices in Dublin until the conclusion of talks in Brussels that could determine Ireland’s future Common Agricultural Policy funding.

Around 50 Irish Farmers Association members entered the offices on Dublin’s Dawson Street this evening to highlight the threat to farm subsidies in the ongoing budget discussions in Brussels.

They said they were in for the long haul and would remain there overnight and throughout tomorrow while Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets other EU leaders in Brussels to attempt to hammer out a deal.

IFA president John Bryan is in Brussels meeting other farm chiefs while the talks on the EU budget for the next seven years are continuing.

Agriculture accounts for over 40pc of total EU spending, so any cuts to the budget will have a big impact on farmers here.

The European Council has proposed cuts in farm spending that would cut €1bn from Ireland’s CAP funding over the period 2014-2020, which Mr Bryan said would cause farm production to drop and expansion targets to go unmet.

This would come at a time when farm incomes were set to fall by 22pc this year, showing the critical importance of EU payments to underpin the industry.

“There is a danger of unravelling a Common Agricultural Policy that has worked for over 50 years for food producers and consumers,” he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been threatening to veto the budget deal unless there are swingeing cuts to the original budget proposals of over €1 trillion over the seven-year period.

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