Commenting on the agreement reached last night by the EU Farm Council, the President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association President (ICMSA), John Comer, said that a number of compromises had been reached that would certainly assist Ireland in addressing various anomalies but he said the reality that must be remembered is that farm families throughout the country are still facing substantial cuts to their payments. Mr. Comer said that it is also important that people realise that this agreement does not represent the ‘endgame’ of the process and that tripartite discussions between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission must now take place, leading to more uncertainty for farmers, until agreement is reached which is expected in June. It is essential that the flexibilities secured are retained in the final agreement.
The ICMSA President said that while the agreement will need careful analysis it appears that useful flexibilities have been achieved, including the option of choosing 2012 as the base year, which should help to remove speculation from the land rental market. Provisions has also been made that provides alternatives to complete flattening of payments – which is a positive development.
However, Mr. Comer said that there are major challenges ahead to structure an agreement that will take account of Irish concerns and he was adamant that the coupling proposal at 7% is a retrograde step and he also expressed his disappointment that Ireland does not have discretion on introducing an overall upper limit or ‘ceiling’on payments.
Ends 20 March 2013.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office