The Government’s CAP plan announced this week represented a deadly betrayal of Ireland’s family farmers, Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy has said.

He said that overall agriculture spending over the lifetime of the next CAP will reduce in actual and real terms, while the inclusion of the €1.5bn carbon tax fund within the CAP co-financing arrangements breached clear promises from Government.

“The funding under Pillar I direct supports in the previous CAP normalised over five years was €5.975bn. It will be exactly the same in the next CAP, representing a significant cut in real terms.

“In Pillar II supports, despite Government spin around co-financing levels, funding will reduce from €4bn in the previous round to €3.861bn for the 2023-2027 period. This is the real result of a disastrous EU budget negotiated by this Government.

“The programme for government flagship commitment was that a new, separate €1.5bn fund from carbon tax receipts was to be allocated to an agri-environmental scheme.

“Despite the fact that this was simply giving farmers some of their own money back, they are now trying to give it back twice.

"Minister McConalogue committed that this fund would be distinct from Pillar II co-financing. This week, he has betrayed that commitment,” Carthy said.

‘No vision’

The Sinn Féin TD said there is no vision or ambition contained within the CAP plan and no recognition of the huge challenges facing Irish agriculture as it rises to meet climate action objectives.

“The proposed carbon suckler efficiency scheme comes nowhere close to providing the supports this vital sector needs and is a far cry from the suckler scheme advocated by Sinn Féin, which would deliver up to €300 per cow-calf. That is the type of initiative required.

“The new Sheep Welfare Scheme equally appears to be a simple rollover of funding, as is the fund for farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint.

“This CAP, coupled with last week’s miserly budget, clearly marks October 2021 as the moment that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael abandoned any pretence that they are on the side of family farmers.”

He added that the Government clearly does not see the promotion and development of the family farm network as a priority.

“The absolute joke of Minister McConalogue continuing his so-called consultation meetings on a plan he has already announced proves that,” Carthy said.