Challenges exposed by Brexit remain unresolved – Matt Carthy MEP

Challenges exposed by Brexit remain unresolved – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that a united community front against Brexit must continue as the challenges it has exposed will remain unresolved, even if the negotiated withdrawal agreement is ratified by the British parliament.


Speaking this week, Matt Carthy, said:


“I am proud to have been part of the all-Ireland team of Sinn Féin MEPs who forced the issues pertaining to Ireland, and especially the impact of the border, into the heart of the Brexit negotiations.  When we first articulated a policy of ‘special status’ for the north Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael representatives accused us of grandstanding and said it was ‘unrealistic’.  It has since become, essentially, the EU position in negotiations.


“I welcome that and commend the government for strengthening their earlier positions.  I also broadly welcome the withdrawal agreement published last week as a positive step in protecting our economy and the Good Friday Agreement.


“But even if, and at this stage it is a big ‘if’, this deal is ratified by all sides many challenges will remain particularly issues related to the rights of Irish citizens in the north.


“We know that there is no such thing as a good Brexit from an Irish point of view and therefore it is still imperative that we are united in our position that there can be no hardening of the Irish border.  The Taoiseach’s warning at the weekend that a hard border would be “very difficult” to avoid if Britain exits from the EU without a deal in place is a worrying retreat that cannot be accepted.


“The reality is there can and must be no hard border in Ireland.  The border we have is already too hard and has already caused too much damage.  It is the job of the government to ensure that there is no hard border in Ireland”.


A United Ireland?


Continuing, Matt Carthy, said that the debate on Irish Unity which was accelerated following the Brexit vote will not go away.


He said:  “Whether the withdrawal agreement is ratified or not it is clear that the undemocratic nature of partition remains exposed.  The people of the north voted to remain within the EU.  Even under this agreement their rights as EU citizens have been undermined by Brexit.


“The Brexit debacle has confirmed for many, and convinced for the first time many others, that the British political system cares little about any part of Ireland.  They have rightly come to the view that the best way to protect their interests, economically, socially and politically is through the unification of our country.


“Therefore we need to begin working on delivering a referendum on a United Ireland.  That means that all parties that advocate a position in favour of Unity should work together to prepare a roadmap to that referendum and a plan to ensure that a United Ireland happens in a seamless way that delivers upon its potential.


“The time for avoiding this debate has passed.  Brexit has accelerated the discussion about what a United Ireland will look like.  It’s time we come together to answer the questions and prepare for that outcome so that we can create a new Ireland that serves all our people”.


Carthy to visit Isle of Man to investigate Paradise Papers tax revelations

Carthy to visit Isle of Man to investigate Paradise Papers tax revelations


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy is due to participate in a fact-finding mission to the Isle of Man this week as part of a visit by the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3), which was set up in response to the Paradise Papers revelations.


Carthy said: “Last year’s massive data leak from the Appleby law firm exposed a massive tax avoidance scheme in the Isle of Man, in which the crown dependency allowed multinational corporations and ultra-rich individuals to avoid paying £790 million of VAT on more than 200 aircrafts and yachts that were imported to the EU since 2011.


“As always, law firms and one of the Big Four accountancy firms – in this case, Appleby and EY – devised the detail of this scheme for billionaires, which was facilitated by the Isle of Man’s government and customs agencies.


“This month the European Commission announced it was opening an infringement procedure against the Isle of Man, saying these tax breaks were illegal and citing widespread evasion of VAT in the aviation and yacht sectors.

“This week, I will be taking part in a fact-finding mission to the Isle of Man to investigate how this tax evasion scheme operated, and the action that has been taken since the Paradise Papers to bring it to an end.


“MEPs from across the political spectrum who are part of the TAX3 special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance will take part in the visit, and we will meet with government representatives, officials from Treasury, finance and customs, and representatives from the Isle of Man’s financial intelligence unit, among others.


“Another issue I want to focus during my visit is the revelation made by Christian Aid last year that LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, has used an Irish-registered subsidiary in the Isle of Man to avoiding paying tax in the Irish state. LinkedIn has done this by transferring 25% of its turnover to the Isle of Man subsidiary as intellectual property royalties, thus reducing its Irish profit margin to the point where for the years examined it paid no tax in Ireland whatsoever. The Isle of Man has a corporate tax rate of zero, so the subsidiary that receives the royalties also pays no tax.” ENDS


Note to editors:

The TAX3 mission to the Isle of Man will take place on November 22 and 23

Carthy facilitates dialogue between farming organisations, farmers and the European Commission in Castleblayney.

Carthy facilitates dialogue between farming organisations, farmers and the European Commission in Castleblayney.


Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development, held an engagement between the farming organisations along with the European Commission to discuss the new CAP proposal from the European Commission.


The public seminar kicked off on a torrential Friday evening in the Iontas Centre in Casteblaney town. Despite the weather, representatives from nearly all major organisations attended, along with a large number of farmers from across the midlands North West region. The only notable absence on the night was the ISCA, who were unable to attend at short notice. Chiara Dellapasqua represented the European Commission and DG AGRI.


Carthy opened the event and gave the floor to Ms Dellapasqua to present the European Commission’s proposal for the new CAP. She outlined that the new CAP will continue with the two-pillar structure but we can expect to see many changes to environmental measures. Greening, to the delight of many, has been scrapped. Many of the measures previously contained in greening have been incorporated into what is called “new enhanced conditionality”. The Commission believes that this will be more ambitious than what was contained in the previous CAP.  As expected, attention peaked when talk of payment capping and the budget came about. Ms Dellapasqua told all in attendance “the EU has lots of priorities and they need to fund these effectively, CAP is not the only priority”. She also cited the budgetary hole left by BREXIT. In relation to basic payment capping, she admitted that large farms would be able to write off labour costs, thereby retaining payments over €100,000.

Ms Dellapasqua was followed by Joe Brady from the IFA. Brady set the stage by outlining some of the contradictions in the sector. AGRI food exports are up 69% on 2010 levels yet direct payments can make up over 100% of dry stock income. He reminded the audience that for every 1 euro of support to suckler farmers there is a spending of €4.20 in the local economy. Brady used this opportunity to stress to the Commission representative some of the problems he perceived in the Commission proposal. “There is an excessive burden on farmers, the number of GAECs must be reduced, we need more penalty tolerances in penalty assessment and 14 days’ notice before an inspection”. He concluded by saying that the IFA supports an increase in contributions to the EU from Ireland to the point of 1.3% of GNI.


The next speaker was Wesley Aston. Aston gave a short but essential contribution on BREXIT. It was clear from his contribution that he was not confident in the British Government’s commitment to maintain CAP payments pound for pound. He also mentioned the importance of cross border cooperation after BREXIT and he agreed that a hard border would be a disaster for the island as a whole. Before carrying on to the next speaker, Matt Carthy spoke directly to Aston when he pointed out that farmers in the North will most certainly be worse off. “Currently the North gets about 9% of UK CAP funding, this will fall to as little as 3% under the calculation method that Britain intends to utilise post BREXIT.


Next spoke Colm O’Donnell from the INHFA. He began by outlining how the INHFA had come into existence. “The INHFA is a new organisation and mainly represents farmers on marginal land in the Midlands, Border and West, that would be on fairly low payments”.  O’Donnell used Monaghan as an example to illustrate that the farmers on large payments are few and far between. “In Monaghan there are 3972 farmers getting a payment, 2043 of these are on payments under €5000 and 1079 are on payments between €5000 and €10,000. In the country, there are 86,000 farmers on payments of less than €10,000. O’Donnell did not mince his words when he said that full convergence of per hectare payments is the only way to increase the incomes of many struggling farmers. He also raised concern about the “new enhanced conditionality”. He believes that the new rules on protection of rich soils and peat land will make it effectively impossible to farm a lot of the land. He sees this as the European Commission denying farmers the freedom to farm the land and that they want to turn it all into designated land.


Lorcan McCabe, from the ICMSA, gave further elaboration on the dangers posed by BREXIT, particularity in the dairy industry. “33,000 Lorries cross the border every year and we cannot have any kind of disruption to this movement or costs will rise”. He said that the dairy industry has tried to shore itself up through the recent merger of Lakpatrick and Lakeland but the scale of the disruption is still very much an unknown.  McCabe cautioned about the capping of direct payment and said it felt a bit like taking from Peter to pay Paul. He did not offer any prediction as to when the dairy bubble may burst but told the audience that some of the reports of massive profits in dairy are over hyped.


The keynote speaker of the night, to deliver Sinn Fein’s vision for the CAP, was Sinn Fein Deputy Martin Kenny, the party’s agricultural spokesperson. Kenny laid out why he believes the CAP is essential to the industry and can “stabilise high quality food production, protect the environment and sustain the family farm”. You could see the crowd visibly perk up when Kenny demonstrated that Sinn Fein has a very real idea of what a fair payment system could look like. “We need all farmers to be getting at least €400 for the first 15 hectares and at least €250 for the next 15. We need to see the 30 to 40 hectares farm taking in between 8000 and 1000 in pillar 1”. Kenny expressed his reservations about the voluntary nature of the new CAP pillar 1 ECO scheme. “Environmental protection should not be left to farmers on bad land”.


On prices, Kenny pointed out that the EU rules on the free market can tie our hands but nonetheless the Irish government needs to intervene to do what it can. “Getting a fair price for our product would mean we can pivot towards higher value instead of higher volume. This would help us achieve our climate goals”. Kenny concluded by welcoming the new rules on subsidiarity and pressed that this opportunity must not be squandered “by short termism or feeding the already well fed.  We must be mature and practical in providing for the greater good, which is also the individual’s long term good”.


The last to speak was the President of Marca, James Healy. Healy opened by talking about the current situation faced by young farmers. “Finally we have slightly more farmers under 35 than over 80.  “However, young farmers still are not always getting the payment when they lease land”. Healy spoke about the need to encourage farm transitions better such as farm partnerships. He also talked about the need for a new farm retirement scheme.


The speaker’s contributions was followed by a Q & A section with the audience. Here the farm representatives were hit with some of the hard questions. Such as why women are not more prominent in farm organisations, and why does the IFA not see capping as valuable when they acknowledge it would put at least €150 extra in the pocket of every farmers, and for many a lot more. Joe Brady from the IFA responded that capping is not going change much for the majority of farmers considering the increase would be less than €200, at which point Carthy reminded him that this might be an extra week’s payment for some. Brady also pointed out that 5 out of the 29 IFA county chairs were women.



The meeting finished at 10.30pm but many stayed on to chat and debate with each other further.

Carthy was pleased that he had been able to facilitate a healthy debate among the farm organisations and farmers on what direction they want the new CAP to go. Carthy seen it as a good learning opportunity for the European Commission to come out and hear first-hand some of the problems that the rules they create can cause for farmers. No doubt, discussions will continue over the coming months as Carthy submits amendments to the proposal and fights to defend a strong budget for the CAP.



Carthy seeks European Parliament support for Western Rail Corridor

Carthy seeks European Parliament support for Western Rail Corridor


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he believes he will secure support from MEPs for his amendments seeking to insert the Western Rail Corridor to a list of prioritised transport networks in the EU.


The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility is under negotiation for the 2021-2027 funding period. As part of this revision, MEPs have the opportunity to define areas that lie on the “core network” and are eligible for transport funding.  In Ireland this core network has historically only included Dublin, Belfast and Cork.  Speaking ahead of the crucial vote next week, Carthy said:


“Next week, MEPs in the Transport Committee will be voting on a list of transport networks to be eligible for €42bn.  This is a critical opportunity to rectify decades of bias against the western region of Ireland.


“I am seeking support to insert the Western Rail Corridor into the list of priority projects despite the failure of subsequent Irish governments to champion this essential infrastructure.


“My amendments call specifically for a rail network connecting Derry, Sligo & Galway and for the inclusion of the Western Arc along the main North-Sea-Mediterranean Corridor.  I am confident that we can secure committee support for these proposals.


“It is ironic that representatives from outside of Ireland can clearly see the damage caused by complete lack of rail infrastructure in the west of Ireland considering that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have failed to act to deliver these projects.


“In 2016, the Programme for Partnership Government contained a commitment to apply for EU transport funding for the Western Rail Corridor within 6 months.  However, the European Commission have confirmed to me that Irish government has not sought a review of Ireland’s core network.


“The failure to advance the Western Rail Corridor is impeding the task of delivering balanced economic development across our regions.  It is an essential part of addressing years of neglect of the West.


“Therefore I will continue to press MEPs to support my amendments and I am confident that the Western Rail Corridor will be included as a priority project in the European Parliament report.  Following that, it will require Irish government action and investment to bring it to fruition.  Sinn Féin will supporting local communities in campaigning for such a commitment.”


The vote will take place in the European Parliament’s Transport Committee on 22 November.


Carthy insists Bolsonaro’s election must be final nail in EU-Mercosur coffin

Carthy insists Bolsonaro’s election must be final nail in EU-Mercosur coffin


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has insisted the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil must be the final nail in coffin for the EU-Mercosur Trade Deal. Speaking from Strasbourg this week, Carthy stated:


“The far right militarist Jair Bolsonaro has clearly expressed his intention to attack the rights of women, Indigenous people, minorities, LGBTI people and the poor in Brazil. He has already enacted policies doing so. The EU cannot claim to promote universal values of human rights and equality while at the same time making trade deals with such a government. This must be the final nail in the coffin of the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement under discussion.


“Since rising to power last month, Bolsonaro has already indicated his desire to pull Brazil out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. His policies on a whole range of issues indicate that he intends to bring production, labour and other social policies far away from the standards expected of partner countries.


“Labour regulations, indigenous rights to land and corporate responsibility mechanisms all lie in the firing line with this swing to the right.


“Brazilian agricultural methods are already among the most intensive in the world. Deforestation for the construction of massive, industrial farms is entirely normal while there are extremely limited regulatory restrictions on the use of pesticides, GMOs, water usage and the use of antibiotics.


“Despite the sense that negotiations on this trade deal are stalled due to the agricultural chapter apparently being suspended, the fact is that talks are continuing behind closed doors with the latest round of negotiations held in October.


“Those who rightly protested the prospect of a 90,000 tonne tariff rate quota for Mercosur beef into Europe earlier this year, should now be calling for a complete halt to these negotiations.


“Bolsonaro’s politics threaten international stability far beyond a collapse in domestic markets. His rhetoric stokes the European shift toward racist and anti-inclusive agendas, and puts in jeopardy the human rights and fundamental freedoms of millions of people.


“The Irish Government must immediately withdraw their support for the negotiating mandate and demand that the Mercosur trade negotiations are brought to an immediate end.”


“As Merkel is set to leave the stage – so too must her failed policies” – Matt Carthy MEP

“As Merkel is set to leave the stage – so too must her failed policies” – Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the EU leaders and institutions to finally abandon the failed austerity policies promoted by Angela Merkel, as MEPs took part in a debate with outgoing German Chancellor in Strasbourg this afternoon, Tuesday. The Sinn Féin MEP took part in a protest against Merkel’s economic policies along with other progressive MEPs before she addressed the plenary.


Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “The EU is still recovering from a decade of austerity, which was forced on the peripheral economies principally by Germany.


“Angela Merkel, since her election as Chancellor of Germany in 2005, has been the chief architect of these policies, which have caused devastation for millions of people across the EU and especially in countries like Ireland. Europe, and in particular the Eurozone, has lost a decade as a direct result of the policies imposed under Merkel’s leadership.


“The results of the European response to the crisis are damning. Three patterns are obvious: the Eurozone countries have in general fared far worse in terms in terms of recovery than countries outside of the common currency; the recovery within the Eurozone has been sharply asymmetrical, with divergence between strong and weak countries increasing; and there has been a significant rise in inequality across Europe. History will confirm that Merkel’s policies prolonged and worsened the crisis in the EU.


“The political crisis that has developed across the EU in the past five years is not only a reaction to the global financial crisis, but also to the policy choices enacted by EU leaders in response to the crisis, which amounted to socialisation of the bankers’ losses.


“World leaders have feted Merkel as the so-called leader of the free world, counterpoising her to US President Donald Trump. This misses the key dynamic at play between these two types of leaders – namely, that the policies of Merkel and other similar political leaders have directly contributed to the rise of the far right and demagogues such as Trump. Being ‘less bad’ than Trump is not good enough.


“The Spitzenkadidat (lead candidate) selected by Fine Gael’s political group, the European People’s Party (EPP) is none other than Merkel’s close ally and colleague Manfred Weber, from her sister party in Germany. Weber has already indicated he fully supports her approach towards economic policy, and has further demonstrated he is willing to turn a blind eye to racist and misogynist policies enacted by parties such Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, a member of the EPP.  The EU does not need a right-wing German at the helm of the commission.

“Instead, we need fundamental reform of the EU – including restoring fiscal powers to member states, enacting effective and binding policies to tackle climate change, putting trade union and collective bargaining rights on a firm statutory basis, ending corporate tax avoidance, and ensuring people’s basic needs in terms of housing, healthcare and education are fully met. The ECB’s mandate and accountability structures need major reform, and the EU Treaties must be changed in order to facilitate all of these changes. This is an ambitious programme but it is now crystal clear – more of the same for the EU is not an option.” ENDS

Carthy: European Parliament has unique opportunity to stop the vultures

Carthy: European Parliament has unique opportunity to stop the vultures


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has been appointed as negotiator for the GUE/NGL political group in the European Parliament on the Commission’s proposal on common rules for banks across the EU to reduce their stocks of non-performing loans. He is working together with MEPs from other political groups to try to ensure that the Parliament adopts a position that tackles the sale of mortgages to vulture funds and protects consumers and mortgage-holders.


Speaking from Strasbourg, Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “This proposal provides us with a unique opportunity to enact rules at the EU level that will protect consumers, protect the rights of mortgage-holders, and stop the sale of portfolios of non-performing loans [NPLs] to vulture funds.


“It will require strong political will from all of the main political groups if the Parliament is to adopt the most progressive position possible before entering negotiations with the Council and the Commission. The ECB and the national Central Banks have completely failed to protect the rights of consumers and mortgage-holders, so MEPs need to do better.


“My top priority in the negotiations on this package will be to restrict the sale by banks of NPLs to vulture funds. We’ve seen the toxic impact of the vultures in Ireland, the way in which they have contributed to the housing and homelessness crises, and the government’s ineffective and half-hearted attempt to regulate these funds.


“To date, banks in EU member states have largely been left to their own devices or – when it comes to the largest banks, under the supervision of the Single Supervisory Mechanism [SSM] – pushed by the ECB’s Guidelines to reduce their stock of bad loans by whatever means necessary.


“I have repeatedly questioned the SSM as to their exact instructions to Irish banks regarding NPLs, and the ECB representatives have consistently denied pressuring the banks to sell to vultures. But the ECB always relies on the SSM’s limited mandate of ensuring financial stability, and passes the buck on consumer protection back to the national Central Banks.


“We’ve had enough of these games. We need strong and effective consumer protection now. The co-legislators in the EU have a far broader mandate than the ECB to ensure consumer protection so this is a unique opportunity to ensure the rights of mortgage-holders are upheld at EU level.


“The problem is that the ECB, together with the Commission, are dedicated to a very limited suite of options to reduce the stock of NPLs. The most significant so-called solution pursued by the Commission in this proposal, and by the ECB, is the promotion of securitisation – the bundling up of various types of debt which is then packaged in a product that can be trade on. Securitisation was one of the principle causes of the global financial crisis. Pooling bad debt and trading on it will only increase the risk to financial stability – it is not a genuine solution to the NPL problem.


“MEPs need to make significant changes to the Commission’s proposal by removing the promotion of securitisation, ensuring the restriction of sales of bad loans to vulture funds, and ruling out future public bailouts of bad debt. At the EU level, we need to legislate to ensure that borrowers have the legal right to refuse that their loans be sold on to another institution.


“I will be working with MEPs from across the political spectrum in the coming weeks and months in order to campaign for the European Parliament to ensure banks are restricted from selling their loans to vultures and that consumers are protected. As a first step I will be co-hosting a forum for MEPs and the public later this month in Brussels featuring speakers on this topic from Finance Watch and BEUC, the EU consumer rights organisation.” ENDS

Matt Carthy MEP commends Blayney Blades

Matt Carthy MEP commends Blayney Blades

Local Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has commended the local ‘Blayney Blades organisation for the service they provide to the community especially to women & their families.

Mr. Carthy was speaking after he visited the ‘blades offices and facilities at the Iontas Centre on Friday morning last to receive a briefing of the services provided there.

Speaking afterwards Matt Carthy said:

“I want to thank the staff and board members of the Blayney Blades community development group for meeting me and providing me with a comprehensive overview of their work.  It is quite clear that the Blades are an invaluable addition to the local community, especially to women and their families in the Mid-Monaghan area and beyond.

“During our discussion I was hugely impressed by the way in which the board and staff maximise the limited funding they receive and how they use fundraising and volunteering to meet the short-fall in government supports.  I was happy to commit my own efforts to helping them secure additional funding streams to enhance the services they provide.

“The Blayney Blades are almost unique in the country.  Operating since 1995 they have ingrained themselves in the Castleblayney community and have empowered countless women in their personal and work lives.  The services they deliver in training & development, information provision, networking and counselling is of untold benefit to the countless families that have availed of them.

“I look forward to working with the staff and the board in the future.  It is clear that they will play a very positive role in Co. Monaghan life for a long time to come!”



Matt Carthy Blayney blades

Local MEP addresses Clones IFA meeting

Local MEP addresses Clones IFA meeting


Brexit, the future of the Common Agriculture Policy, the approach by department of Agriculture officials and the ongoing poor price returns for farmers were all part of a comprehensive discussion between local MEP, Matt Carthy, and members of the local branch of the Irish Farmers Association at a recent meeting.

The meeting, which took place in the Creighton Hotel, Clones on Thursday evening last was presented as an ideal opportunity for local IFA members to engage with a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee which has already began to assess the commission’s proposals for reform of the CAP.  Chaired by Laurence Deery and officiated by branch secretary Teresa Moore the meeting was also addressed by IFA Regional Chair Nigel Renaghan.  Local Councillor, Pat Treanor, accompanied Mr. Carthy.

In a wide-ranging report Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, gave an update on several areas of concern for local farmers especially the future of the Common Agriculture Policy.  He explained the the key immediate battle will be to protect and increase the budget allocation.  “Many are suggesting that the 5% cut in the CAP budget is due to a ‘Brexit hole’” he said, but “this is not true.  What the commission are proposing is a cut to CAP within the context of an INCREASE to the overall EU budget.  This is a failure on the part of the Irish government and Commissioner Phil Hogan”.  It is imperative, he said, that the CAP budget be increased for the next term.

Carthy also called for rebalancing of the distribution of CAP payments saying that it was unfair and unsustainable that a small minority of farm enterprises are receiving direct payments amounting to hundreds-of-thousands of euro while most struggle to survive.

A large portion of the discussion focused on the ongoing Brexit negotiations.  Matt Carthy told those gathered that it is imperative that the Irish government maintain its position regarding the so-called ‘backstop’ saying that it should be the absolute bottom-line in the talks.  Anything less, he said would have massive negative implications economically, socially and politically and would be particularly dangerous for farmers north and south.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the MEP engaged with members on a raft of issues affecting them.  A particular concern of farmers was the approach of Department of Agriculture officials.  Matt Carthy stressed that officials and inspectors should see their role as partners for farmers, rather than hostile opponents, which is too often the position they adopt he said.

Mr. Carthy also said that a huge issue that remains unaddressed is the massive unfairness in the supply chain that results in the lowest proportion of the price paid for food products going to those who actually carry out the bulk of work, namely the farmers.  He said that Sinn Féin is committed to tackling the overtly powerful position of retailers and processors and to strengthen the power of farmers in the chain.”

Speaking following the engagement Matt Carthy thanked the members of the IFA for inviting him to their meeting.  He also issued a welcome to everyone who has an interest in these matters to attend a seminar he is hosting on “The Future of Irish Farming” which will be held in the Iontas centre, Castleblayney this Friday, 9th November, commencing at 8pm.



EU Commission & all major Irish farm organisations to address “Future of Irish Farming” seminar hosted by MEP Matt Carthy in Castleblayney this Friday

EU Commission & all major Irish farm organisations to address “Future of Irish Farming” seminar hosted by MEP Matt Carthy in Castleblayney this Friday

A representative from the European Commission will present an outline of their proposals for the next round of the Common Agriculture Policy at a seminar hosted by Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy to be held in the Iontas Theatre, Castleblayney this Friday the 9th of November at 8pm. The seminar entitled “The Future of Irish Farming” will also be addressed by leading representatives from all major Irish farm organisations.

It is expected, that as well as discussions on the upcoming CAP reform process, that contributions will also focus on the other significant issues currently affecting farmers and rural communities including Brexit, concerns of Unfair Trading Practices by retailers & processors and the ongoing price challenges faced by farmers.

Speakers at the seminar will include Joe Brady, rural development chairperson of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA); Colm O’Donnell, President of the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA); James Healy, President of Macra Na Feirme; Lorcan McCabe, Deputy-President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Ger Grehan, National Vice Beef Chair of the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) and Wesley Aston, CEO of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU). Sinn Fein Agriculture spokesperson and TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Martin Kenny, will outline the party’s priorities for Irish farming in the coming period. Each speaker will be given an opportunity to respond to the presentation that will be delivered by the representative from the EU Commission’s DG Agriculture as well as outlining their respective organisations policies on pertinent issues.

There will also be an interaction with those in attendance so that people can ask questions of guests or make short comments regarding their own views on how to support agriculture during these challenging times.


Speaking ahead of the seminar Matt Carthy MEP commented:

These are incredibly challenging times for anyone working in farming and for those who have concerns for the future of our rural communities.  Brexit has clearly created huge uncertainty but when added to the new CAP reform and a dangerous EU trade agenda it is no exaggeration to suggest that Irish Agriculture as we know it could face fundamental change in the time ahead.  It is vital that communities are informed of these challenges and that we discuss the political options available to tackle them.  Our seminar hopes to inject into the debate a sense that, collectively, we can ensure a future for Irish family farming but it will take political will and imagination.


Friday’s event will be a rare opportunity for people to join senior representatives from all major farm organisations on the island of Ireland, in the presence of the European Commission, to hear the various positions but also to make their own contribution to this debate.  While obviously this seminar will be of particular interest to farmers I would also encourage others to join us as this issue will affect every family, parish, town and village across rural Ireland.”