Cavan-Monaghan TD Pauline Tully has called for redistributive CAP measures to help sustain small and medium-sized farmers who are presently being asked to do more with less.
The Sinn Féin TD said:
“The CAP budget is starting from a lower base than in previous years. CAP currently makes up only 30% of the overall EU budget as opposed to the 37% it made up in previous years.
“We know the emphasis, going forward, must be on making farming sustainable and delivering environmental benefits. However, if the CAP budget continues to decrease, it will mean farmers are being asked to do more for less money and that is not sustainable.
“I am aware there are ongoing discussions at EU level on the method of redistribution of payments and, as previous speakers have said, Sinn Féin is in favour of full convergence and is of the opinion that payments should be capped at €60,000 so that a small number of very wealthy landowners cannot benefit to the tune of several hundred thousand euros while smaller farmers struggle to make ends meet.
“Full convergence would unduly affect some smaller farmers, so we are calling on up to 20% to be ring-fenced for front-loaded payments for small and medium-sized farmers who previously benefited from valuable entitlements.
“Redistributive measures are essential to ensure CAP payments are fair.
“I support and recognise the need for eco schemes, going forward, as we all do.
“Additional funding must be made available to farmers, however, over and above what they have been in receipt of up until now. Otherwise, we are asking farmers to do more for less money and that cannot be allowed to happen.
“It has been indicated that the new schemes will be result-based but other factors such as inclement weather, which could affect output, need to be taken into account.
“In fact, inclement weather is because of climate change. If, therefore, farmers are trying to take measures to reverse climate change, factors like this cannot be ignored and common sense must prevail.
“In addition, any unspent funds for eco-schemes must remain within the State and must not return to Europe.”