Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan
Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford could be the three counties that could end up losing most under a new Common Agricultural Policy Agreement (CAP), according to local TD John Paul Phelan.
Speaking in the Dáíl, Deputy Phelan said: “It strikes me that Kilkenny and Carlow, the counties I represent, and neighbouring Wexford are, as the proposals stand, the three counties that could end up losing most.”
CAP negotiations have been ongoing for some time and the new agreement isbeing driven by environmental concerns and attempts by the EU to reduce its spendingon farm subsidies.
Deputy Phelan told the Dáil: “I am a firm believer in the original purpose of CAP. It was never designed to be a welfare payment. It was designed to aid production and to ensure we have safe food on the shelves of our shops and supermarkets. I worry that, in the medium term, some sort of food supply issue will break out across the European Union and potentially across the world. As a country that can produce more food than we already produce, Ireland has a moral obligation to do that to the highest animal safety and food production standards.
“I fear that many farmers in the livestock sector, which is subject to the volatility of prices and is the very sector that most Members want to support most strongly, could be adversely affected if there is a significant drop in their single farm payment or if we were to go anywhere near 100% convergence.”
He said most of the farmer producers in the south east are not industrial scale operators. It is counties Kilkenny and Carlow, as well as surrounding counties, not the counties in the west, that have, on average, the lowest disposable household incomes nationally.
Referring to the importance of family farms, Deputy Phelan said: “Many people depend on agriculture and families are reared and children are educated using the income from the family farm.”
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