Ireland’s MEP hopefuls have been called on to prioritise the chronic shortage of young farmers across the EU as an emergency by the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).

In its manifesto for the European Parliament elections, it has called for a comprehensive EU strategy for generational renewal in the farming sector, including a socio-economic young farmers check in all upcoming agricultural, climate and environmental legislation.

It called for a cutting of red tape and bureaucracy in CAP and for the CAP to be well funded.

On the nitrates derogation, it has called for recognition of the social and economic success of the Irish dairy sector in derogation areas and the strict environmental rules that derogation farmers abide by. It said MEPs must support the nitrates derogation at 220kg/N/ha.


ICOS said those elected to the European Parliament should use the opportunity of '2025 UN Year of the Co-operative' to highlight at EU level the strategic and unique role co-ops can play in meeting the sustainability demands under the EU Green Deal.

It also called for support for training programmes aimed at equipping the co-op directors and board members of the future.

Farmer consultation

All institutions in the EU should include farmers and co-operatives in the consultation process relating to files which have a direct impact on farms, farmer livelihoods and food security, it said.

The body said that MEPs must be cognisant of Ireland’s special status as an island with a strong reliance of live exports in the single market and that they should support animal welfare legislation that is practical.


“The next European Parliament will be the most important in a generation for Irish and European food producers,” ICOS stated in its manifesto.

“The challenges in terms of maintaining food security and mitigating climate change will fall at the feet of our members more than any other sector of society.

“So, we are asking our 14 elected MEPs to take this into account when making decisions that will have a profound impact on the sensitive and delicate European food supply chain between now and 2030,” it said.