In the European Parliament, we are facing into a significant period during which the next Common Agricultural Policy will be formulated and enacted and when particularly important trading relations between Ireland and the UK will transpire.
The Withdrawal Agreement is a pressing one and constitutes “a very challenging process” and will have consequences for Irish farmers that will last for a considerable period of time. Likewise, it is a matter of urgency that there is an increase in the EU Budget in the years from 2021 and 2027 through higher contributions by the member states but at this point, the proposed budget is down by 5%, or an equivalent of €97 million per annum for Ireland before taking inflation into account.
“Therefore, it is vital that farmers vote for candidates who will be willing to ‘fight on their backs’ for Irish farmers,” he said.
“The EU is downgrading the importance of agriculture and food production in favour of other programmes.
He was there to generate support for the proposal to insist that both the government and the EU step up to provide support for farmers who have already sustained serious losses and are inevitably going to lose out again no matter what way Brexit materialises.
The government has been wholly inactive as the processing factories have steadily reduced prices for stock delivered over a period of time now, he said. The Association estimates that losses in the beef sector already amount to over €100 million. Price cuts so far have seen €100 a head being pared off the price for steers and heifers with €200 or more evaporating from the price of juvenile bulls. The analysis has been made of the period before the Brexit referendum result in 2015 up to recent months when prices have dropped to very low levels.