No democratic oversight for CAP Strategic Plan – Matt Carthy TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has criticised the government’s refusal to bring the Strategic Plan for the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) before the Oireachtas for approval.
Teachta Carthy said that while the next CAP will include some positive redistributive measures, these were delivered "despite and not because of" the Irish government, who fought against them all at EU level.
Speaking following reports that Minister McConalogue had brought the CAP strategic plan before Cabinet to be sent to the European Commission for approval, Teachta Carthy said:
“The next CAP will include redistributive measures that Sinn Féin have sought for many years – including an upper limit payment, front-loading to benefit smaller farmers and movement towards flat-rate payments. These measures will be delivered despite, rather than because of, the Irish government.
“In fact, Irish governments have fought against such proposals at EU level for decades. Indeed, Minister McConalogue delayed the CAP ratification process in opposition to such moves. He did so, he claimed, because such decisions should be made at state level.
“Yet he has refused to bring his Strategic Plan to the Dáil for approval and waited until the recess to bring it to Cabinet. The European Commission will receive Ireland’s CAP strategic plan before the elected members of the Oireachtas even get an opportunity to debate it.
“The Common Agricultural Policy is the single most important tool we have for securing the future of family farms. This is a plan that will have far reaching financial and environmental implications long beyond the term of the current government. It should not be decided by bureaucrats, either in Brussels or Dublin.
“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.
"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%.
“Of course, Sinn Féin will examine the details of the Strategic Plan when it is made available.
“The draft plan contained many aspects that required fundamental improvement in order to deliver the best outcomes for family farmers and the communities that depend on them, as well as the environment.
“We have highlighted the need for greater supports for our suckler and sheep farmers, for investment in environmentally beneficial technology and for increased funding for the LEADER scheme.
“Crucially, we have called on 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 and they deserve fair play in terms of all government policy.
"They also need a fair CAP. The refusal of Minister McConalogue to allow democratic oversight of the Strategic Plan implies that this government are not up for delivering it."