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Carthy hosts delegation of young Irish farmers in Brussels

9 March, 2017 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy hosted a delegation of over 30 young farmers from agricultural colleges across the Midlands and North West in Brussels this week.

Ballyhaise, Mountbellew and DKIT were the participating colleges, but the delegation also included farmers who had finished their studies, as well as some of their lecturers.

The farmers from Leitrim, Louth, Galway, Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan, and Kilkenny were nearly all in their 20s.

Speaking after Tuesday's visit, Matt Carthy said:

“I was delighted to host this delegation of young Irish farmers in Brussels.

“The group met with a representative of the European Commission to discuss future policy developments in the area of Young Farmers.

“The main issue that was raised throughout the day was what was being done to protect the traditional small farm model in Europe.

“Small, peripheral rural areas such the West Coast of Ireland are in severe difficulties as a result of very bad policies emanating from the EU and inequality that these policies have driven.

“It was hugely important not only for the group to meet EU policy makers, but also for the Commission representative to meet them.

“Too often EU policy makers sit behind their desks and completely lose sight of the people affected by their policies.

“These delegations are all about bringing people closer to the site of decision making so that their voices can be heard.

“In a meeting with a policy adviser from the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations (COPA) and General Committee for Agricultural Cooperation in the European Union (COGECA) – commonly referred to jointly as COPA-COGECA, the young farmers discussed environmental issues and upcoming legislation regarding agriculture and climate targets.

“A meeting with CEJA, the European Young Farmers association, and a representative from the IFA discussed the challenges faced by Irish farmers post-Brexit.

“The delegation also met Nina Holland of Corporate Europe Observatory and Luc Vernet of agricultural think thank Farm Europe where they discussed the power of agribusiness lobbies and how cartels operating in the meat processing and fertiliser sectors are destroying any hope farmers getting fair prices for their products.

“The delegates made very clear that things cannot remain at the status quo. We will be bringing all of these issues forward in upcoming CAP reform discussions.”

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