Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has today (Wednesday) warmly welcomed the historic political agreement reached on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) in Brussels today.  Led by Minister Simon Coveney, it represents the successful achievement of one of our key objectives for the Irish Presidency of the EU.

“This deal which is of vital importance to all Irish farmers, was reached after months of negotiations which culminated in marathon talks since Sunday of this week in Luxembourg and Brussels.  The Irish negotiators managed to secure many concessions from what was originally proposed that will help Irish farmers.

“Changes have been agreed to the distribution of the Single Farm Payment on which many farmers rely.  This final deal represents a significant improvement from what was originally proposed by the EU Commissioner of a flat rate payment for all farmers.  Minister Coveney’s compromise of an approximation model was accepted by all EU members after much discussion. This will see a redistribution of approximately €100m of Ireland’s overall package of €1.2bn rather than the original €300m redistribution proposed. There will be more winners than losers with about 50,000 farmers experiencing a reduction of an average 12% phased over a seven year period, while over 60,000 farmers will experience an increase of 35% on average.

“The final deal will also open the way for a return to Sugar Production in Ireland with an agreement to end Sugar quota’s by 2017.  This should allow Ireland to re-enter the industry and is a significant boost to the ongoing work by Beet Ireland in preparing the way for a return of the Sugar Industry to Ireland, a project I have supported since before my election to Dail Eireann.

“The fingerprints of the Irish Presidency are all over this deal which also includes a mandatory top up scheme for young farmers.  This deal lays a strong foundation to allow Irish farmers to develop and grow in the coming years and is a significant  improvement on the commissioners original proposals” concluded Heydon.