21st April 1999
Ireland must push for real reform of CAP
Sinn Fein Candidate for Munster, Martin Ferris, speaking at the launch of the party's EU election campaign said that the party is committed to working for a real reform of CAP to keep the maximum number of farmers on the land.
Mr. Ferris said:
``The recent much heralded start to reform of CAP did not address the large scale inequalities which have led to large farmers winning out at the cost of small landowners. Of the more than £1.6 billion paid to 26 county farmers in 1997 66% of this money went to just 10% of farmers. In 1999 farmers across the EU are facing collapsing incomes with thousands of families being forced out of the sector.
The CAP funding cannot fulfil its own stated objective of ensuring a dignified standard of living for farmers while maintaining the highest number on the land. Figures from Teagasc show that up to 5,000 people are leaving farming annually in the 26 Counties. It is also worth noting that since the 1992 Maastricht referendum campaign EU sheep farmers have been in crisis, dealing with falling livestock prices and incredibly low incomes. Since then the EU has been manifestly unable or maybe just unwilling to deal with this problem.
Sinn Fein are committed to working for:
- real reform of the CAP to fulfil its aims of keeping the greatest number of farmers on the land with a proper standard of living and fair prices for consumers
- urgent action to address the needs of farmers on the brink of bankruptcy
- a greater share of CAP funds for small farmers
- funding initiatives for organic farming and rural development
We believe that the interests of small farmers and the marginalised rural communities ravaged by migration and central government neglect must be prime beneficiaries under any new development proposals.
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