According to deputy Marian Harkin, most farmers in counties such are Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, and Roscommon lost out in both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 payments through the CAP.
During a Dáil debate on the current CAP negotiations, she told Minister Charlie McConalogue, that “these farmers cannot lose again”.
“It makes no sense that current CAP payments are linked to production levels in 2000; it is illogical and unfair.”
Deputy Harkin referenced the change in the previous CAP where 30% of Pillar 1 payments went to greening measures.
“In Ireland we had, and still have, the situation where two farmers in the same county doing exactly the same measures under greening were paid significantly different amounts per hectare,” she claimed.
“This difference could be up to €100 per hectare. That was fundamentally wrong because both farmers were completing precisely the same measures.”
Deputy Harkin asserted that many farmers in the west of Ireland were “sold a pup”. She said there were false promises around rural development payments that were supposed to compensate for minimal moves on convergence in Pillar 1 payments.
“REPS was eviscerated and payments for rural development measures were less than in the previous CAP.
Deputy Harkin recognised that some intensive farmers on low acreage could be disproportionately affected by convergence.
“In that context, voluntary coupled payments would assist as would frontloading the Pillar 1 payments,” Marian Harkin concluded.
CAP must support low-income sectors
Meanwhile, the ICSA has said that CAP payments need to be harnessed to better support the low-income sectors in cattle, sheep and small to medium-scale tillage.
Those were the words of ICSA president, Dermot Kelleher, as he addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and the Marine.
“We have to look after smaller-scale family farms particularly those that are struggling.“
The group has called for an agri-environment scheme that delivers up to €15,000.
“This would be a significant boost to cattle and sheep farmers, in particular, who have never really recovered from the loss of the REPS scheme.”