President of the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) Pat McCormack said that critical decisions made over the coming months will essentially determine whether or not the Irish family farm model has a future.

McCormack has called on ministers to exercise their discretion, saying: “Our position is that farm families suffering losses under Pillar I will have to be compensated, either through Pillar I or Pillar II measures, and the regulatory burden on farmers will have to recognise the practical realities and fundamental economic viability of farming."

On Pillar II, McCormack commented: “An agri-environment scheme with measures suitable to all farmers should be put in place for up to 70,000 farmers with payments up to €15,000 per farm.


“In terms of the on-farm investment measure, the idea itself is meaningless unless dairy equipment is included. We envisage a new investment ceiling of €120,000 with a 60% grant for all farmers,” he added, expressing concern that farmers "will be forced to do more with less and less support”.

He said that farmers had a right to expect that these decisions will be taken on the basis of all the relevant environmental, economic and social criteria, and would not to be made on the basis of any one to the exclusion of the others.

Speaking following a meeting with Minister McConalogue and Ministers for State Hackett and Heydon, McCormack said that the ICMSA had made it clear that the maximum level of national funding will have to be delivered.