DEAR SIR, Having recently attended the very informative Irish Farmers Journal and Department of Agriculture CAP meeting in Mullingar which I expected to be bad news for a farmer like me, I can only say that it was far worse and disastrous than I had expected.

In my opinion, the plans for the new CAP schemes are a form of agricultural communism that will drive progressive commercial livestock farmers off the land.

No attempt has been made to direct legacy payments from landowners who have claimed payments and have not put on a pair of wellingtons in the past 20 years. These people cannot believe their luck that this has not been addressed.

Minister McConalogue, while addressing farmers in marts last year, stated that most changes will be voluntary for farmers.

This is not the case, particularly for drystock farmers relying on rented or leased land and who simply cannot compete in the land market at present.

These farmers cannot even enter ACRES, or the suckler cow schemes in case they lose land within the next five years and be forced to pay back the monies already collected.

No force majeure is even considered or mentioned here, not to mention the fact that they will be forced to sell stock and pay huge tax on the sale of these stock.

Most redundancies paid in any other sector are tax free.

European policy

It’s clear to me that European policy and Government policy by a Government held hostage by a Green Party and the fantasy ideology of Eamon Ryan will drive more active farmers off the land than Cromwell ever achieved years ago.

A suckler cow at minimum stocking rate in the so-called disadvantaged areas of Ireland can draw down €5,000/cow, or a hill ewe can draw €800/ewe – not to mention front loading of payments that refuses to take account of an off-farm income which seriously disadvantages a full-time farmer.

In the event of a major food shortage in the upcoming years, will the taxpayers of Europe consider that they got value for money with these idiotic changes to CAP.