ICMSA say Programme for Government can be “new start” for relationship between environmentalists and family farms – Programme has positives but lacks specific budgets

The President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that Programme for Government was certainly detailed in its scope and ambition and he said that farmers would be reassured by the tone of several of the passages dealing with agriculture.   Mr. McCormack said that efforts had been made to avoid the kind of crude ‘farmer-bashing’ that many had feared and that had to be acknowledged.

However, Mr. McCormack said that was balanced by a troubling lack of specifics on the question of how farmers would be paid to help lower emissions amongst other objectives and nowhere was this lack more obvious than on the question of the ‘REPs-type’ scheme envisaged in the Programme.

The ICMSA President said that if this scheme is to be meaningful then it is going to have to accommodate over 70,000 farmers – including commercial farmers – and the funding will have to reflect that number of participants and the step-change such a scheme represents.  It would necessarily involve serious expenditure commensurate with the seriousness of the challenge and ambition and ICMSA believes that the political parties should spell out their specific proposals on this matter.  The funding allocated will reveal whether this new scheme is a real option for farmers.   

Mr. McCormack said that ICMSA wants to believe that this can be a new start for the relationship between environmental concerns and family farms but that can only be on the basis of mutual respect and a willingness to accept uncomfortable realities.   Policies and solutions on climate change must come from an understanding of context and pragmatism – and not ideology imposed from outside or above.   

Ends       15 June 2020.

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

President, ICMSA.

Or

Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office.