IFA President John Bryan has called for unity in the organisation. Speaking to over 500 people who packed the ballroom of the Lough Allen Hotel in Drumshanbo last Thursday night, Mr Bryan acknowledged that farmers were upset and worried about the future but he stressed that only by standing together as a united organisation, could the IFA secure the best for its members.
“The IFA has always worked because the farmers in it were unified and it’s important that we remain unified now,” he said.
“I’ve met Ciolas and he’s wants regionalisation. If that comes into play farmers where would see their payments halve. The fact is that two thirds of our members would be better off with regionalisation but I’ve stopped it coming in because it would be disastrous for farmers like those in Co Leitrim. I don’t want to see anyone with cuts to payments but I certainly don’t want to see those with the least amount of income being hit.”
Responding to suggestions of a split from the floor, Mr Bryan said that such a move would be “disastrous” for not only the IFA but especially for “weaker farmers”.
“Germany is the country signing the cheques and they are pushing for regionalisation while I am fighting flat out for coupling and I will continue to fight for coupling,” he maintained.
“The fact is under what we’ve agreed so far I’m going to take a cut in payments and over half the farmers in Ireland will have to take a cut but many smaller farmers will see an increase, that is the nature of things.”
“We have to show a united front to secure matching funding from the Government. That funding is vital to ensure higher grants for young farmers, to ensure a proper REPS scheme is introduced, to see proper supports for farmers in Disadvantaged Areas. Without that funding we’ll all be facing a much more difficult position.”