Matt Carthy: “Fine Gael failing to fight farmers’ corner on European funding”
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, candidate for the Midlands North West, has said the Irish government is failing to fight the corner of Irish farmers when it comes to the EU budget.
Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee said: “The most significant upcoming battle for farmers will be the allocation to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) within the EU budget.
“While the distribution of the CAP will be an important conversation it will count for little if we have not first secured sufficient funds to distribute. Since joining the European Union in 1973, almost 80 per cent of the funds that have come to Ireland through EU programmes have been to support agriculture.
“In the first round of these discussions, the Irish government has displayed its inability to fight the farmers’ corner when it counts. While raising no objection to the €13 billion proposed for the European Defence fund, Leo Varadkar went to Brussels and offered to increase Ireland’s contributions to the budget, before receiving any assurance that the areas that matter to us, such as CAP and cohesion funds, were protected from cuts.
“This blank check has farmers starting down the barrel of a 15% cut to CAP in real terms, including a 27% cut to rural development.
“This is just systematic of Fine Gael’s deplorable record when it comes to rural Ireland. Unfortunately the legacy of Fine Gael, and of Fianna Fáil before them, will be felt for years to come. They have removed money from the pockets of struggling families, including farming families, to bail out AIB, then had proceed to welcome in the vultures to come and take what was left of the people of rural Ireland’s livelihood.
“For Sinn Féin I can categorically state that we will not support an EU budget that doesn’t include a real increase in CAP funding. Every vote cast for Sinn Féin will be a vote for a farming communities.”