Thousands protest at proposed CAP reforms
IRELAND is not alone in its opposition to a major redistribution of EU farm payments, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has insisted.
Thousands of farmers protested outside Dublin Castle while EU farm ministers discussed major reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) yesterday.
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said Ireland must face down the EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, who wants to secure a mandatory minimum payment to farmers and a more wholescale redistribution of available funds.
But despite claims that Ireland is becoming increasingly isolated in its opposition to these changes, Mr Coveney said Spain, Italy, Portugal and Denmark were also strongly opposed to too much redistribution of funds. However, he warned that no country would get everything it wanted.
He and Mr Ciolos said the talks would go right to the wire but they were still hopeful of getting a deal at a council meeting in Luxembourg next month.
Mary Bugler from Innishannon, Co Cork, who was among the farmers protesting outside Dublin Castle, said that her family would see a 50pc cut in their CAP single-farm payments if the wholescale redistribution of funds went ahead.
Michael Biggins from Glencorrib in Co Mayo said he would lose around €6,000 to €7,000 a year in direct payments.
IFA president John Bryan said that Simon Coveney would be judged on the deal he got for Irish farmers.