Macra president Elaine Houlihan

“Europe and our MEPs must be aware of the importance of young farmers and rural youth to the lives of everyone.

“We are the future of rural areas. We need to be heard and actively involved in policymaking. The age profile of Irish farmers is stark, with currently only 6.9% of farmers under the age of 35.

“Generational renewal within the farming profession therefore presents a key challenge, not only to the sustainability of Irish family farms but also to the economic, social and environmental infrastructure of rural communities to which agriculture is intricately linked.

“Macra impresses the need for a succession scheme to help support the transfer of the day-to-day management of farms from the older generation to the young people.

“This is critical to ensure a more sustainable agricultural sector, ensuring both its current and future prosperity and that of rural communities.

“Macra will be calling on our MEPs with the support of CEJA [the European young farmers’ organisation] for urgency in addressing the issue of generational renewal by proposing the introduction of a succession scheme, along with creating a more attractive, vibrant and resilient agricultural sector.

“To support the ambition of our succession proposal, there needs to be an appreciation of the wider supports required for young farmers.

Elaine Houlihan, Macra president.

“To deliver on agriculture production and our collective environmental ambition, it must be recognised that agriculture operates on long-term cycles and requires substantial investments underpinned by strategic planning.

“There must be supports available to help young farmers navigate increasingly uncertain times (eg taxation supports at member state level, capital investment for farm business and the environment).

“There must also be clarity on regulation demands ensuring they are realistic, coherent, fair and provide sufficient longevity. This is critical to provide young farmers with business certainty, making the sector more sustainable.”

IFA president Francie Gorman

“Some 35 of the 50 candidates running in Midlands North West and South attended our four debates, where 1,000 farmers asked them what their stance is,” IFA president Francie Gorman has said.

Francie Gorman, IFA president. \ Philip Doyle

The IFA has identified four key asks of candidates running for the European Parliament:

1 An increase in CAP funding to support farmers, food production and food security.

“A separate environment fund must be created to support actions on farms, including support for designated land and any actions that may arise if the Nature Restoration Law is passed.”

2 New MEPs must focus on reducing poorly thought-out regulations that are causing frustration and anger among farmers.

“The IFA wants proper engagement to deliver a fair set of rules that can be implemented at farm level. This should also cover the forthcoming land use policy.”

3 A national effort that includes our 14 MEPs is needed to secure the retention of the nitrates derogation.

“Our grass-based system is unique and this has to be recognised at EU level. Since 2020, over 30 measures have been introduced at farm level and these must be given time to work. Farmers need a period of certainty as they make investments on their farms.”

4 The IFA is looking for a fair measurement of emissions that acknowledges that methane is short-lived.

“We also want recognition for the carbon that is being sequestered on farms. On trade, the EU has to maintain a level playing field on imports that do not meet our standards. The Mercosur trade deal has to be stopped.”

INHFA president Vincent Roddy

“As EU policy has a massive impact on farming, the role of our MEPs is vital. While there are many areas we could cover, we are going to focus on two, those being the Nature Restoration Law and CAP.

“In INHFA, the last two years have been dominated by ongoing concerns around the Nature Restoration Law. While we have taken considerable time to assess the law and its possible implications, what has been disappointing is that a number of our existing MEPs have not.

“This is obvious when you look at comments made by some of the MEPs, especially when it comes to specific articles of this law, most notably Article 4 and commitments around a budget when clearly no budget at EU level has been agreed.

“So, our ask from the incoming MEPs is to recognise that you are there as a co-legislator, which comes with a basic requirement of at least understanding the law and how it will impact on those who elect you.

“With regard to the Common Agriculture Policy and the CAP post-2027, there will be a major role for the incoming parliament. Here, we need our MEPs to insist on a substantial budget increase. This can be justified on the basis of supporting food production and the increased environmental ambition.


“On specifics, we need to get convergence done and with an increased budget, our expectation should be that no farmer will lose out in this process.

“On the front-loading of payments, we need to increase the payment rates here in order to protect small holders, who are critical to the industry, the rural economy and the overall farming lobby.

“In relation to regulations, our MEPs need to champion the genuine concerns of farmers.

“There is an over-kill with regulations that is being driven by officials and NGOs, who seem to have taken the view that all farmers are untrustworthy.

“We need a total overhaul on regulations starting with CAP.

“This, at its core, should have a proper yellow card system that gives farmers the opportunity and appropriate timescale to address issues before any penalty is applied.

“Finally, our MEPs need to push back on the drive to have everything online. This is driving exclusion and leaving some member of society in a very vulnerable position.”

ICMSA president Denis Drennan

“ICMSA wants MEPs to give farmers and farming issues the same level of attention and commitment that they seem happy to give to everyone else’s issues.

“It’s fair to say that farmers are as tired as they are irritated by having our issues ‘waved away’ as being matters for the Commission or our national Government, while the paltry attention MEPs do give matters around Irish farming invariably ends up with either a financial loss, a ‘review into a review’ or yet another infringement on their basic property rights, as in the Nature Restoration Law.

Denis Drennan, ICMSA president. \ Claire Nash

“This is the single most striking sentiment emerging from all over the State: farmers are now putting aside generations of unquestioning loyalty to parties and are now deciding to vote on the basis of commitments reflecting the realities of farming.

“What farm families want is fairness and a genuine commitment to making our world-beating dairy and beef sectors ‘sync’ with the transition to low carbon farming and food production.”


“We want politicians who can understand the science and keep their nerve in the face of the ideological anti-farming hysteria that passes for environmental debate far too often on far too many platforms. We want people who understand that we ‘get’ the challenge and who will support us through this transition.

“But above all, we want politicians who realise that we will not carry everyone else through to the new era; we will not allow ourselves and our sector to be dismissed as having to find a 25% cut in agriculture emissions while Dublin Airport and the airlines try and sneak through a 25% rise in the passenger cap.

“More than anything else, we want and are entitled to, politicians who will bring a degree of honesty that has been conspicuous by its absence in the debate so far.”

ICSA president Seán McNamara

ICSA president Seán McNamara has urged voters to support only those candidates who are committed to defending and promoting Irish farming interests in the European Parliament.

“The actions and decisions of the European Parliament profoundly impact every farmer in Ireland.

“We need representatives in Brussels who are unafraid to stand up and speak out in defence of Irish farming.”

ICSA sheep chair Seán McNamara.

He said MEPs must deliver on the following in the next parliament:

1 Increase the CAP budget.

“It is essential that our MEPs fight for an increase in the CAP budget. This increase must reflect the increased cost of producing food and ensure food security amidst global population growth and geopolitical uncertainties.”

2 Establish a separate environmental fund.

“CAP cannot cover all the environmental demands placed on farmers. We need a dedicated fund for environmental initiatives.”

3 Practical policy engagement

“MEPs must ensure meaningful engagement with farmer stakeholders to deliver policies that are practical and workable at farm level.”

4 Stop over regulation

“Excessive regulation is driving current farmers away from farming and discouraging the next generation from entering the profession at all.”

5 Protect live exports

“Live exports are a vital outlet for Irish farmers and must be protected.”

6 Protect nitrates derogation

“Any further reduction in the nitrates would be detrimental for all sectors. McNamara said he wants to see MEPs elected that will actively defend Irish farmers’ interests. “It has never been more important for the concerns of Irish farm families to be effectively represented in Brussels. Cast your vote wisely on 7 June.”