Friday, 15th December 2017
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Waterford TD, Mary Butler has said that her party’s proposals to modernise and simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) can help secure family farms in rural Ireland for the next generation.

Deputy Butler was commenting after attending the policy launch with Party Leader, Micheál Martin at the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Offaly.

"These CAP reform proposals are the launchpad of our Farmer First policy, which we will roll out across the country in the weeks and months ahead.

"There must be collective ambition for the current CAP budget to be increased post 2020 and reverse the cuts made under the 2014-2020 package. While the UK exit from the EU will leave a €3bn hole in the CAP budget, the remaining EU 27 need to show solidarity with their primary producers and secure the livelihoods of farmers across the continent by making additional contributions.

"Via CAP, Irish and European farmers are at the epicentre of our food chain, ensuring we produce the highest quality food worldwide. However, this must be complemented by ensuring that primary producers, which are the backbone of rural communities, can generate sufficient income levels.

"The next CAP programme, post-2020, must therefore ensure farmer income levels are central to future policy decisions.

"Direct payments under CAP sustain rural communities and the family model of farming throughout Europe. In Ireland, direct payments make up 75% of total farm income. Irish suckler beef and sheep farmers continue to depend exclusively on direct payments for their livelihoods.

"Fianna Fail has put forward a clear set of proposals of future CAP reform proposals, which we will campaign for in the weeks and months ahead.

"We are clear and unambiguous in our support for family farms and keeping them at the heart of life in the country," concluded Butler.

* The Fianna Fáil proposals include:

- Work for a fully funded, fair, and simpler CAP that safeguards direct payments.

- Ensure policy is aimed at increasing farm profitability and strengthening the position of the primary producer.

- Introduce a €60,000 maximum basic payment.

- Fair farm inspections with an end to disproportionate penalties.

- Safeguard farmers and Irish agriculture from the impact of Brexit.

- Incentivise generational renewal in farm families.

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