Barry Cowen, the Fianna Fáil candidate in the European Elections for Midlands North West, has outlined his priorities for the next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) agreement.

Farming and sustainable food production is a key priority of Cowen’s campaign and he believes he will be a strong and knowledgeable voice for farmers in Europe if elected on 7 June.

“First and foremost, I will be advocating for a significant increase in funding and rebalancing of the CAP towards food production. We cannot keep asking more and more of farmers while paying them less and less, continuously going back to the CAP to fund everything,” Cowen said.

“There needs to be greater understanding on the issues farmers are facing and we need to make their lives easier and incentivise them.

"The best way to start is by simplifying things with less bureaucracy and red tape. Farmers were promised simplification in the last CAP, this has not been delivered.”


Cowen said that the amount of paperwork is “out of control” and he said that he is “committed to easing the burden”, with simplification a key priority of his, allowing farmers to “focus on what they are good at, farming”.

“We must replace the income foregone and costs incurred metric and instead introduce a reward-based scheme that rewards farmers for delivery,” Cowen said.

“Currently, scheme payment rates only compensate farmers for their costs and time with no reward for delivery. I want to change that, we need to provide farmers with a payment that covers their costs, their time and reward them for delivery."


Cowen also said that he believes production-focused schemes need to “help farmers to bridge the income gap for those farmers negatively impacted by the last CAP.”

He said that funding and supports for sustainability and emissions reduction schemes that are separate and distinct from CAP are needed.

“Farmers not only need a strong voice in Europe, they need a knowledgeable, experienced representative who is a tough negotiator. I am that voice. The disconnect between farmers and food producers cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.