de Brun addresses cross border CAP conference
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun was one of the speakers at a cross-border forum held last Friday in Co Cavan to discuss the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Speakers at the event, organised by the European Parliament's office in Dublin and London, included IFA president John Bryan and UFU President John Thompson , Mairead McGuinness MEP and Dutch MEP Ester de Lange, as well as the President of Macra na Feirme, Alan Jagoe, and former MEP Neil Parish, currently chair of Westminster's Agriculture Committee.Bairbre de Brun MEP took the opportunity to set out the process, now underway in the European political institutions, to address the proposals produced in October by European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos. After outlining the main elements of the package, she commented, "Much of what is contained in the present Commission draft will look very different by the end of the process. The European Parliament has co-decision in this matter, for the first time, and MEPs will be in a central position in what will be a lengthy and detailed negotation. So it is vital that we hear from the farming and rural organisations, such as those present here today. We need to hear not just their broad concerns about aspects of what is on the table, but also there is a need for constructive suggestions on what more workable alternative wording they would wish to see included, suggestions which will help simplify and improve what is there at the moment." Ms de Brun stressed that "The greening of the CAP, through the tying of direct payments to work to protect the environment, will happen, and what is needed is a discussion on how to have wording that will be of practical help to the environment while not adding to the bureaucratic and administrative burden on farmers". She also explained how MEPs here will work with farmers to ensure an adequate EU budget for agriculture and to ensure that CAP reform takes account of our particular culture of renting land through conacre. All the speakers stressed the need for good communication between the various stakeholders and their political representatives in Europe, and de Brun concluded, "by working together, and by building alliances with others across Europe who have the same priorities for the CAP as ourselves here in Ireland, we can do everything we can to achieve a fair and sensible outcome both for our agricultural industry and for the environment they love".