A decision is yet to be made on whether Ireland will jump the gun on CAP reform and begin converging payments in 2022.

No member state will be legally obliged to implement convergence until the new CAP begins in 2023.

The outcome of ongoing negotiations will determine the level to which payments will converge.

Transition regulation

However, under the transition regulation in place for 2021 and 2022, member states have the option to begin the process ahead of schedule.

Ireland opted not to avail of this option in 2021. Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said “enormous logistical and operational requirements” meant changes could not be considered for 2021.

Minister McConalogue has not ruled out the prospect of resuming the payment flattening process again in 2022.

In response to a question from Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns, the minister said he would consult with farm organisations over the coming months to allow a timely decision to be made.

Continuing convergence

Minister McConalogue had advocated for continuing convergence during the transition period in his role as Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture.

Under the current CAP, some €93m was taken from farmers with entitlements values above the national average to raise the value of entitlements held by farmers below the national average.

The current payment flattening path ended in 2019 with all entitlements reaching a minimum of 60% of the national average.