Ireland keen to push CAP reforms

Ireland has underlined its determination to push through CAP reform policy that protects direct farm payments when it takes over the EU presidency in 2013.

The Irish Farmers Union told an international conference in Edinburgh that Ireland’s farm minister would ensure their policies were adopted.

In a no-holds-barred address to NFU Scotland’s Greening Summit, IFU livestock director Kevin Kinsella said that the Irish position on the CAP proposals was simple: direct payments had to be retained and uniform area-based payments were not acceptable.

He said: “That is the position of the Irish Government and that’s the position the minister is going to adopt when it comes to the Irish presidency. That’s important for how other member states look at this if the president of council is going to adopt that position. And it will be impossible for him to change that position: we won’t allow it.”

Mr Kinsella condemned the Ciolos proposals as being “fundamentally flawed” and said there had been a lack of straight talking in the debate, with too many people trying to work out the “end game”.

“The proposals have to be changed and they will change,” he insisted. “The focus of the Irish presidency will be about finding a practical and workable solution that supports active and productive farmers and it will be focused on 70% of the payment rather than 30%.”

On the controversial “greening” proposals – the subject of the conference – Mr Kinella said that of Ireland’s 124,000 farms over 50,000 were in some form of environmental scheme already.

“It’s very clear, we’re green already,” he said.

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