Sinn Féin’s sole sitting MEP Chris MacManus has outlined his party’s farming priorities for the upcoming European elections as looking to shift policymaking away from a ‘one-size-fits-all basis’ approach and towards one which caters for smaller member states, like Ireland.

MacManus stated that there is a need to increase the understanding of smaller-scale family farms, which he claims are looked on as “large gardens” by many in Brussels and that this feeds into a CAP more suited to large member states with larger farms.

Negotiations for the post-2027 CAP are to be the MEP’s immediate priority if elected in June, as well as securing a permanent solution to reduce the bureaucracy facing smaller farmers, he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

MacManus believes both himself and his fellow Sinn Féin candidate, former Northern Ireland agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew, will win seats in the Midlands North and West constituency, as “we do very much believe that people have an appetite for change”.

“It goes back to this ‘one-size-fits-all basis’ and that’s the problem we have out here being a smaller country both on the geographical periphery and indeed what is perceived as the influential periphery,” he said. “Because quite often legislation is crafted on a one-size-fits-all basis that will suit the larger countries, the Germanys, the Frances, and I know from the agri committee that is quite often the case.”

The MEP added that he will seek to ensure that the European Commission’s plans to axe CAP inspections for farmers below 10ha is made permanent, as he argued that red tape has a disproportionately heavy burden on small and part-time farmers.

“We need to enshrine that for those smaller farmers. It is different for those larger farms that have actually admin people, but not if you are a small-time farmer, a part-time farmer in the west of Ireland.”