President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) Pat McCormack has called on the Minster for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to provide definite answers on the unclear aspects of CAP after the first virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday.

McCormack said that the current consultation “swerves away” from critical issues surrounding payments rates and requirements of the various schemes, and that the consultations would not prove useful without the most basic facts.

Mixed messaging

“We have to start dealing in specifics and that means the Department has to start giving us the specifics. If we are going to have a real consultation on this CAP – and it is desperately needed – then let’s at least know the facts about what it is we’re discussing,” McCormack said.

This vagueness and mixed messaging from the Department is just unacceptable

“I asked a specific question on whether grant aid will be available for dairy investments under the new CAP and the Department response was vague and non-committal. This vagueness and mixed messaging from the Department is just unacceptable and avoidable: we have farm families across the country making decisions on their futures and it is not asking for a lot for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” he continued.

Dairy farming is a key industry

McCormack went on to say that climate change is clearly the central issue, and noted that there were also labour efficiency and farm safety perspectives to be considered.

He said the data clearly shows dairy farming is a key industry in our rural communities and the continuing non-committal position of the Government on this matter raises serious questions about the commitment to rural Ireland and the ‘Just Transition’ principle.

“The mixed messaging on dairy investments needs to end and the Minister must confirm that dairy investments will qualify for grant aid in the new CAP; farm families are entitled to at least that level of certainty for their future,” McCormack concluded.