Irish farmers protest CAP reform and climate change
On Friday 11 June, Irish farmers gathered in 30 different towns across the country, warning of the dangers of planned CAP reforms and climate change legislation.
The nationwide rally, organized by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) to highlight the importance of agriculture to the rural economy, is the first large-scale protest since the Covid pandemic struck last year.
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The agriculture and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country and, outside Dublin, provides between 10% and 14% of jobs. It also contributed 13 billion euros (£ 11 billion) to exports in 2020.
“The county towns we visited depend heavily on our area,” said IFA President Tim Cullinan. “Any reduction in activity in agriculture will hit them hard.
In particular, the ACI is concerned about the current direction of CAP reforms being negotiated between the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in Brussels.
“Trilogue discussions” have been underway since the start of the year, aiming to spend more money on environmental and climate measures, to tighten the rules on keeping land in “good agricultural and environmental condition”, and to channel more money to small and medium-sized farmers.
“Last week I met Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Michael Martin, and warned that unless there is a change in the current direction of the CAP, agriculture in Ireland , as we know it, will cease to exist, ”Cullinan said. .
“The EU wants farmers to do more environmental actions, but they will not fund it. To deviate from it, they made proposals designed to divide farmers. “
– Alan Jagoe (@AlanJagoe_Macra) June 11, 2021
The IFA also has the new climate action bill in its sights.
“Irish farmers are committed to climate action, but policies and targets are being pursued at European and national levels without any assessment of the economic and social impact they will have on farmers and rural Ireland,” said Mr. Cullinan said.
Anomalies in the bill are likely to increase global warming rather than reduce it, he said.
“The overall objective of the bill is to be climate neutral by 2050 on a ‘net carbon’ basis. However, the proposed definition of carbon budgets refers to emissions and not removals.
“As currently drafted, it will also cause ‘carbon leakage’. Less food will be produced in Ireland, and more in countries with a higher carbon footprint, which will increase global warming.
“It’s an environmental spectacle with no regard for the actual impact on actual global warming.”
Mr Cullinan said he was frustrated the government refused to make amendments to its bill when current agricultural environmental programs were completely oversubscribed.