Election candidates in the northwest have rowed in behind a call for full convergence of farm payments, according to the INHFA.
At constituency hustings in Donegal and Sligo/Leitrim, “the resounding unanimous call coming from all election candidates is to get convergence done” INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said.
He said that all candidates, including those from Fine Gael, have weighed in behind the farm organisation’s call for full convergence of CAP Pillar 1 payments during the next CAP programme and its continuation during the transition period.
No longer credible
“It is no longer credible,” said O’Donnell, “that direct farm supports are still related to the level of livestock activity on farms 20 years ago.
“The European Commission has set a pathway whereby 19 member states have already reached full internal convergence in 2019 and has drafted transition regulation for Ireland’s internal convergence model to continue over the interim period until the new CAP programme kicks in.
“Our current agriculture minister, Michael Creed, has indicated that it is his intention to pause the convergence process for the next two years, citing that it would be unfair to continue because of a potential cut in the CAP budget and no operational need to implement the Commission proposal at this stage.”
However, O’Donnell said: “What is unfair is that for the next two years such a pause would potentially see one farmer receiving €48/ha and another receiving €210/ha for the same measure in the Greening scheme, where both farmers are paid for the retention of permanent grassland on their farms.”
O’Donnell warned that “anyone attempting to defend the minister’s position is seriously putting future European taxpayer funding for environmental measures at risk and could see further reductions to our national envelope”.
The series of INHFA election roadshows continues next week:
All meetings are open to the public and start at 8pm.