Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) hill chair Flor McCarthy has hit out at the new €260m suckler carbon efficiency scheme under the next CAP, as well as lambasting his own association.

McCarthy said that €52m a year for the suckler sector is a disaster. He told the Irish Farmers Journal that 350,000 to 400,000 suckler cows will disappear as a result of the scheme.

“Are Fianna Fáil going to stand over the eradication of 30,000 small suckler farmers? That’s what we’re facing, 30,000 suckler farmers will be wiped out.

“Fianna Fáil always stood for the small farmer and the western farmer. Now we see a minister leading the eradication of small farmers,” he said.


McCarthy said there was a lot of negatives in the CAP schemes announced this week and said there will be massive problems.

“I’m amazed that the Greens are supporting this. They’re on about carbon efficiency. There was 43,000 suckler cows lost in the year gone by and they were replaced by dairy cows. The Minister for Agriculture should support the two sectors.

“Fine Gael are staying back in the background leaving the baby to Fianna Fáil.

"I’d be asking Pippa Hackett, how can she justify getting rid of the most carbon efficient cow? They’re taking us out.”

IFA criticism

The hill chair said he was disappointed with the research the IFA had done on CAP.

He said the IFA needs to get an independent assessment done to quantify the losses in the suckler and sheep sectors.

“[The] IFA should be giving us this information. At a CAP project team meeting yesterday, I left them in no doubt that I am not happy. I want to pay every farmer a coupled payment. I’m not going to stand by and see a sector wiped out.

“We need a coupled payment. We can’t survive without supports. Donegal, all of Connacht, Cavan, Longford, down to Clare and Kerry – that land will be left there. It’s difficult land and needs supports.

“Supports are being withdrawn and we can’t survive without them, €52m per year is no use,” he said.

“We’re being walked all over. On the sheep side, they’ve €20m a year, that’s a bare €10 per ewe.”