IFA protest 'sent clear message' over CAP reform
on 09/10/2012 17:16:35
Up to 20,000 people marched to the Dáil to protest against reforms of the Common Agriculture Policy and proposed budget cuts in December.
Farmers are calling on the government to work to maintain the current CAP allocation for Ireland of €1.6bn a year.
The Irish Farmers Association president John Bryan, who addressed the crowd on Kildare Street, says farm families must also be spared from budget cuts in December.
"We have come here today to send a clear message to the government and to the EU that we are going to fight for the future of the family farm.
"Our message today to the government is that farming can help deliver recovery and jobs, but only with the right policies and support from Dublin and Brussels," Bryan told the crowd.
Earlier, he said that the current CAP allocation of €1.6bn must be maintained.
"We are very concerned about the upcoming negotiations on the CAP budget in Europe. The critical decision on the level of funding for the whole of the EU will probably be made in late November or early December. We're here to send a clear signal to the European Commission and the heads of state that it is essential we take no cuts in the budget.
"Farming is operating on a tight income. The cuts over the last few years, whether the universal social charge, extra taxes or cuts in schemes have hit farm income hard. This was a wet year as well on top of that, a further hit. The inputs in farming, fuel and fertiliser, have risen by 30% in the last two years, putting huge pressure on farm income."
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he would meet with some of the protestors to discuss the issues.
"I'm very well aware that we have been through the most difficult summer in living memory from a weather point of view," he said. "It is my job, at a difficult time from a budgetary point of view, to get the best possible deal for farmers."