The Irish Beef and Lamb Association’s (IBLA) national committee has recommended that its members not support the Irish Farmers' Association's (IFA) Save Irish Farming protest in Dublin on Sunday.
“Every farmer will have to decide for themselves if they want to support the IFA protest and this should be considered a personal decision made by each individual,” the IBLA has said.
It added that the specific reasons why the IFA is protesting remains somewhat unclear.
“The posters say ‘Save Irish Farming’, but do not say what Irish farming is to be saved from,” it said.
The group outlined a number of reasons why its members should not support the protest.
It said that the IFA website indicates that the protest is because Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has refused to engage with the IFA on a proper plan for the sector at farm level and he has not made himself available to negotiate directly with elected farm leaders on CAP.
The IBLA said that there have been 19 CAP consultative committee meetings which allowed the IFA to put their points across.
The IBLA said it lobbied for 100% convergence of payments, which was at odds with the IFA’s position of 85% convergence.
It also said that the IFA has not clearly indicated a value at which the maximum direct payment that a farmer receives should be capped at, while the IBLA said it sought for the lowest cap possible of €66,000.
The IBLA is also at odds with the IFA on eco schemes - while the IFA wants the figure of 25% reduced, the IBLA does not want it reduced and it is also in favour of 10% frontloading of payments, albeit on less than 30ha.
Taking those reasons into account, the IBLA said it fundamentally disagrees “with the position adopted by the IFA on multiple points and to protest with them would be to have a CAP that would be to the detriment to our members”.