Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has not dismissed the suggestion that he will trial a universal basic income for farmers.

The suggestion was made by Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns in a parliamentary question last week.

When asked for his views on the idea, Minister McConalogue said that a universal basic income for farmers “would be a significant shift from the CAP measures” and would require “extensive research, modelling of payment frameworks and consultation”.

However, he did not dismiss the idea, saying that he would continue to engage with stakeholders on the issue.


He outlined the changes that will happen to farm payments in the next CAP, which include that the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) Scheme will replace the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

BISS will provide income support for farmers in Ireland.

Under the proposed BISS, there is a mandatory requirement for member states to ensure that, by 2026, all payment values reach a minimum convergence level of 85% for all payment entitlements, creating a more levelled distribution of payments.


Further interventions in the new CAP, such as Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS), will compound payments to support and ensure a mandatory redistribution of direct payment funding to small- and medium-sized farms.

The inclusion of eco schemes reflects a clear policy shift towards a greater environment and climate ambition for the CAP.

The higher the amount of funding allocated to such schemes, the greater the impact on payment entitlement values and farmers' payments.

Participation in eco schemes will offer farmers the opportunity to maximise their direct payment amounts, while also contributing to the greater environmental ambition proposed for the new CAP.