Macra na Feirme says it has received and accepted an apology from Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe following the controversial letters he sent to the CEOs of Ireland’s main banks urging them against lending to farmers.

A Macra delegation held what has been described as a “constructive” virtual meeting with the MEP on Tuesday and gave an overview of their farm enterprises.

Macra is said to have “impressed on Cuffe” the important role access to credit plays in developing and improving farm businesses.

Financial support

The MEP was reminded that financial support is required for farmers to implement environmentally friendly practices, something that as a Green MEP he is understood to be keen on.

Macra members explained that grazing infrastructure development, improved slurry storage facilities and low emissions slurry spreading equipment, among others, were key farm investments that require access to finance.

Macra president John Keane outlined that for the past number of decades access to credit has consistently been highlighted by young farmers as a key barrier in entering farming.

“Our organisation has consistently highlighted the lack of support for young farmers in addressing the access to credit issue.

“The statement by MEP Cuffe in his letter to single out young farmers has not helped in addressing the constant issue of access to credit.”

New letter

Keane is said to have asked Ciaran Cuffe MEP to send a new letter to the banks which clarifies his position.

He said: “This meeting was constructive and positive, with the overall message that we must all work together on these matters going forward."

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