IFA president Tim Cullinan said the farming community would be greatly saddened to hear of the death of IFA’s former chief economist Con Lucey.

Con Lucey served as the association’s chief economist for 34 years. He retired in 2008.

“On behalf of all in IFA, I want to extend our sympathies to his family. Con has left a huge legacy and they should be very proud of what he achieved,” he said.

“Con Lucey made an outstanding contribution to the shaping of agricultural policy and the development of Irish farming over three decades. He did this at a crucial time for the sector as we had just joined the EEC,” he said.

His record of service to the association spanned the terms of 10 IFA presidents.

The IFA president said Con Lucey enjoyed universal respect among farmers, the entire agricultural sector and at the highest levels of Government for his contribution to Irish farming. He was undoubtedly one of the country’s most talented economists and a tireless advocate of a modern, competitive Irish agriculture with family farming at its heart.

CAP strategic plan is a step in the wrong direction

IFA president Tim Cullinan said that the CAP strategic plan as submitted by Minister McConalogue and approved by the EU Commission is a step in the wrong direction that will undermine food production.

“The new eco-schemes, which are funded by a 25% cut from each farmers’ basic payment, is a step too far. The minister could have reduced this cut to below 15%, but he chose not to.

“The impact of the eco-schemes, along with further convergence, front loading and greater conditionality, will hit a cohort of our most productive farmers the hardest. The eco-scheme measures themselves are designed for low output or to reduce output and will not be practical for many farmers,” he said.

“A number of the new schemes including the suckler cow, sheep and environmental schemes are underfunded. The new, much-trumpeted environmental scheme ACRES is a bureaucratic monster and needs changes to ensure it is workable for farmers,” he concluded.

Cullinan also said that the onus is now on the minister and his Department to ensure the gaps created by his plan are covered by additional national funding.