In light of the major meeting going on this week on the question of Brexit and how it might affect Irish farmers, I am calling on the main farming organisations to back small family farms and address the inequalities when it comes to matters like the Single Farm Payment and other issue.
While the issue of Brexit is a hugely important one, the way farmers, and small farmers in particular are treated by the EU should be a major concern for all the farming organisations. It remains a fact that 80% of EU payments go to 20% of farmers and I have often proposed that there should be a cap of 50,000 Euro on the payment to any one farmer and that the payments should be skewed towards the smaller family farms.
We know that 40% of our trade is with the UK and if the consequence of Brexit is that 40% of our trade will be lost or affected then the EU have a serious role to play in any negotiations which is worrying. We cannot depend on the other 26 countries to do a good deal on our behalf and we will have to take a central role to protect Irish argiculture into the future. The negotiations on Brexit will be crucial to the future of the farming industry here and we have to take charge ourselves to ensure that our interests are protected.