Several leading farm lobbies in Ireland have hit out at the proposed cuts to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), saying that the country’s farmers could be some of the worst-hit from the funding shortfall. Recent Council documents reveal that the CAP could be in for a 14% cut in funding.
Tim Cullinan, the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), called on incumbent Irish Prime Minister Leo Vardkar to oppose the EU’s long term budget, on the grounds that it could damage Ireland’s agricultural sector. Vardkar’s Fine Gael party suffered a disappointing performance in the recent Irish general election when it fell to third place behind Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.
“The Taoiseach must now focus on these EU negotiations and not be distracted by the negotiations to form a new government,” Cullinan said. “This proposal contains a significant cut in the CAP budget and it would be a devastating blow for Irish farmers and rural Ireland and must be rejected,” he added.
It is understood that Varadkar’s Fine Gael are close to admitting defeat in proposing a new programme for government, after having failed to find common ground with smaller parties. Varadkar said earlier this week that he is looking forward to the opportunity of rebuilding his party from the opposition benches.