Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has refused to back down on 25% of Pillar I payments going into eco schemes in the next CAP.

On Thursday evening at Tullow Mart, IFA president Tim Cullinan confronted the Minister, following an IFA protest outside the mart, demanding that he give farmers a commitment that he will go back and look at eco schemes.

However, the Minister said he would not be making such a commitment. The Minister said he will ensure further consultation on the CAP. When asked by a farmer from the floor if he would make such a commitment, the Minister said "no I'm not [making that commitment]".

The IFA held a protest at Tullow Mart before the Minister's arrival on Thursday.

Earlier in the evening, the Minister said the IFA was the only farm organisation which had not sought 25% eco schemes.

"All farm organisations, bar IFA, suggested 25%. There will be further engagement around this.

"My key objective is to ensure that all farming types... to ensure that everyone can get in and keep compliance costs to a minimum.

"There's going to be a consultation and that point can be made," he said.

'You have to go back and look at this'

Cullinan said that other member states are looking for 12% eco schemes.

"We pleaded with you last Friday to bring it down. You have to go back and look at this and adjust it down," Cullinan said.

The Minister came in for severe criticism from the floor from farmers on eco schemes and front-loading.

He said that front-loading is an obligation for Ireland to introduce.

"The proposal I have is 10% and to pay it up to 30ha.

"Seventy per cent of farmers will be the same or better off under that proposal," he said, noting that 30% will not be better off.

Kilkenny protest

Over 100 farmers attended the protest at Tullow Mart before the Minister's latest meeting on his CAP tour of the country.

He has a second meeting on Thursday evening in Kilkenny, with the IFA also holding a protest there.

He will be in Thurles on Friday evening, with the IFA also threatening another protest at the venue.