Speaking in advance of the CAP conference being held in Brussels today (Fri, 7 July), the President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has said that while people are encouraged by the sense of renewal and resurgence in the EU, that sense of unity must be demonstrated by a commitment to fully fund a new CAP that will continue to support the production of high quality food for the EU’s consumers through the maintenance of an indigenous and vibrant family-farm system. John Comer said that while he expected to hear ‘dozens’ of contributions about what CAP should or should not be doing, all depended on the CAP budget being adequate for scope of the challenge it addressed.
Mr. Comer said that recently the challenge around the CAP Budget had come sharply into focus as reports circulated that the overall EU Budget cuts resulting from the loss of the UK’s contribution would fall disproportionately on CAP. Ireland’s position must be made abundantly clear: CAP must not be cut and Mr. Comer said that position had to be made as bluntly and as often as was required. He said that CAP had been an unalloyed success in delivering the highest standard food to millions of EU citizens at very affordable prices and it remained a very great joint achievement by both the EU and its farmers. That achievement, that huge public good, had to be recognised and protected and if maintaining CAP meant increasing the contributions of the remaining 27 Member States – Ireland included – than that is what must happen. Reducing CAP by cutting its budget would be to confirm the worst arguments of the Brexiteers and it would also lead almost immediately to significant food price inflation with ‘knock-on’ political and economic implications as well as accelerating the rural depopulation being experienced all over the EU.
“Ireland needs a fully funded CAP; we’ve benefitted hugely from it and we still need it. If keeping a proper CAP means increasing the remaining Member States contributions then Ireland must demand that is what happens”, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends 6 July 2017.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office