Leitrim Farmers Network chairperson, Gerry Dolan, has said Leitrim farmers “are rightly worried about the impact of the current proposals on their viability in future years”.
Describing CAP reform discussions as “complex”, Mr Dolan said “powerful vested interests are at work to look after the profitable viable farms of the east coast where 20% of large farmers get 80% of the supports and funds and also elect many government TDs”.
He asked what the future was for small farmers in places such as Leitrim.
“While we support the Ciolos proposals , the IFA on the other hand has rejected the Ciolos proposals for flattening and regionalisation and are totally opposed to a minimum payment which would transfer money to small farmers,” he said.
“While the IFA fears regionalisation which means that existing Single Farm Payments within a defined area are converged and redistributed within that area so the 80% of farmers who receive 20% of the payments must stand up and be counted before the IFA and Fine Gael seal the deal and only profitable farmers will receive the main budget from Pillar One 100% funded from Europe.”
Mr Dolan went on to say this fight is not about farmers this is about rural communities surviving into the future he said urging farmers to join the Leitrim Farmers Network or set up branch in their area.
“The Leitrim Farmers Network is opposed to a ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ policy by the government, which means undermining the viability of tens of thousands of small family farms across the country,” he continued adding that he had spoken to hundreds of farmers around the county on these issues over the last few years.
“The Leitrim Farmers Network has strong democratic structure based on the local parish which ensures that all voices are heard, and we will continue to work to secure the best possible deal for Leitrim agriculture,” he said. “You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information pack on setting up a branch in your area”.