Offaly ICSA Chairman highlights CAP reform issues

CHAIRMAN of the Offaly branch of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), William Reid, has called on Commissioner Dacian Ciolos to listen more to the people that matter when it comes to CAP reform.

CHAIRMAN of the Offaly branch of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), William Reid, has called on Commissioner Dacian Ciolos to listen more to the people that matter when it comes to CAP reform.

“The EU Commission has been told repeatedly that a flat rate payment just can’t work in practice and warned about the need for a very gradual phasing-in of any change. Despite undertakings from Commissioner Ciolos that he was seeking evolution, not revolution the fact remains that he has proposed a reform that will destroy the viability of too many active farmers.”

“There is an old adage-if ain’t broke then don’t fix it- which springs to mind with this reform. While there is a strong lobby for more money for East European countries, this in no way justifies the wholesale disruption that will happen in Ireland. The reform sets out a national envelope for Ireland that would facilitate minimal change just as readily as the substantial change proposed by the Commission.”

Mr Reid, who is a farmer from Birr, added that the only real reform required is to make minor adjustments in order to better support young and active farmers who have lower payments through no fault of their own.

Mr. Reid said he was also disappointed that the Commission had not listened to or understood the difficulties posed by setting a reference period of 2014 with advance notice. “It seems to us that the reform proposals betray a complete lack of understanding of the Irish farming scenario. At the meeting of the EU parliament agriculture committee in Brussels on Wednesday last, it was clear to me that the level of opposition to the reform proposals was significant. If the Commission is serious about a reform, then it is going to have to listen a lot closer to the people that matter, including MEPs, the Ministers for Agriculture and of course, farmers and their representatives.”