Cropped 22 Jan 2024

ICMSA describe Commission proposals on Simplification as “meaningless to the point of insult”.

Commenting on the proposals from the EU Commission to reduce the administrative burden on farmers, the President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, said that the proposals were meaningless to the point of insult and would result in absolutely no improvement for Irish farmers in 2024 or, indeed, any year thereafter.

“The is a ‘Rehash and Re-announce’ stunt where the Commission proposes to pick a few minor regulations that has no impact on the ground, repeat the already announced consultation on the Nitrates Directive that is likely to take a number of years to complete, suggested up to a 50% reduction in farm inspections while maintaining 100% checks under AMS – so making life easier for the Department inspector without any benefit to the farmers. Meanwhile, there is no details given on Force Majeure and the definition of ‘exceptional circumstances.”  Finally, they are sending out a survey to farmers on what the issues are – as if we didn’t already know”, said Mr. Drennan.  

Mr. Drennan said that there is no need for a survey as the issues are now crystal-clear: “We have regulation after regulation on a more-or-less continuous basis, while the funding under CAP becomes less and less relevant by the day due to inflation and convergence.  The Commission can pretend to be listening to farmers, but they are actually playing games and are fooling no-one. The vote tomorrow on the EU Nature Restoration Act will be very instructive on where our own MEPs stand on an issue which encapsulates perfectly this phenomenon of more and more regulation for less and less direct payments.  The Nature Restoration Act will impose severe restrictions on the landowners impacted by it, but there is zero budget to implement it and farmers are rightly fearful that it will be a repeat of the SAC/SPA debacle where farmers were treated appalling by the EU and Government”, said Mr. Drennan.

Pointing out that farmers did not need a survey to know that are being treated without respect or fairness, Mr. Drennan said that it’s only purpose could be as a delaying tactic: “The Nitrates issue is a case in point; farmers are being wiped out and undermined by a flawed agreement with the EU Commission that’s premised on an argument that the science does not support. So, it’s not about Nitrates per se, it’s about regulating farmers effectively out of existence and making things as difficult for them on day-to-day basis as possible. This list of non-actions aimed at non-simplification is just more of the same”, said Mr. Drennan. The ICMSA President called on the EU and the Government to decisively move from a model of regulating and coercing farmers to one of collaboration and support.

“Go back to a drawing board and come back again with proposals that will actually help farmers and take some pressure off them” concluded Mr. Drennan.

Ends        26 February 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office