Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy, has criticised the government’s “refusal” to bring the CAP Strategic Plan before the Oireachtas for approval.
Yesterday (Tuesday, December 21st), cabinet approved Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).
This will enable the DAFM to submit its draft plan to the European Commission ahead of the January 1st, 2022 deadline.
As a result, he said the European Commission would receive Ireland’s CAP strategic plan before the elected members of the Oireachtas “even get an opportunity to debate it”.
While the next CAP will include some positive redistributive measures, Carthy claimed that these were delivered “despite and not because of the Irish government, who fought against them all at the EU level”.
He outlined that the next CAP will include redistributive measures Sinn Féin has sought for “many” years.
- An upper limit payment;
- Front-loading to benefit smaller farmers;
- A movement towards flat-rate payments.
“These measures will be delivered despite, rather than because of, the Irish government,” he claimed.
“In fact, Irish governments have fought against such proposals at EU level for decades.”
He claimed that the minister “refused” to bring his plan to the Dáil for approval. He added that he “waited until recess to bring it to Cabinet”.
Carthy said the CAP is the “single most important tool we have for securing the future of family farms”.
He warned that the plan would have “far-reaching” financial and environmental implications long beyond the current government’s term.
“It should not be decided by bureaucrats, either in Brussels or Dublin,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the next CAP will have a substantially reduced budget in real terms at a time when Irish farmers will be expected to do more for their payments.”
He claimed that this “again, was a failure of this government who agreed to an EU Multi-annual Financial Framework which has seen a reduction of the budget allocated to CAP reduce from 37% to 30%”.
Carthy confirmed that Sinn Féin would examine the CAP Strategic Plan’s details when it becomes available.
He believes the draft plan contained many aspects that required “fundamental improvement” to deliver the “best” outcomes for family farmers and the communities that depend on them and the environment.
He said the party highlighted the need for:
- Greater supports for our suckler and sheep farmers;
- Investment in environmentally beneficial technology;
- Increased funding for the LEADER scheme.
Furthermore, the party has called on the government to fulfil their previous commitment to allocate €1.5 billion outside of the CAP to allow farming communities to meet their climate action challenges.
“That they have attempted to backtrack on that commitment tells much of this government’s attitude to both family farmers and the environment.”
“Ireland’s family farms are facing challenging times. They deserve fair prices for their premium products. They deserve fair play in terms of all government policy.”
“Also, they need a fair CAP. McConalogue’s refusal to allow democratic oversight of the Strategic Plan implies that this government are not up for delivering it.”