The national President of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Colm O’Donnell has stated, ” that the Agriculture Minister, Mr Michael Creed has finally shown his true colours and nailed them firmly to the mast in his decision to direct payments away from farmers with the lowest per hectare values in favour of rewarding those with the highest values per hectare”.”This decision runs contrary to the basic European Union guiding principle for its citizens, in that its their legitimate expectation to be treated equally as beneficiaries of CAP payments”.

“If the Irish Ministers intentions to pause internal convergence during the transition period were not to be challenged by the INHFA ,” continued O’Donnell, “serious irreparable permanent damage will be done to the future sustainability of up to 70,000 farms that are currently deemed either vulnerable or unsustainable by our National DAFM advisory service”.

The farm leader went on to say, “the European Commission has drafted transition regulation proposing the continuation of the internal convergence mechanism as the core process for a more equitable distribution of direct income support among farmers, where significant individual differences based on old historic references become more and more difficult to justify.
In addition to this, if you consider the negative impact a convergence pause will have on the 30% Pillar 1 Greening requirements, that being the retention of Permanent Grassland. You could see one farmer with a Greening payment per hectare of €48 and another with a Greening payment of €210 per hectare for possibly the next 3 years, which is totally unacceptable and puts at risk future funding supports being pledged by European tax payer’s for Green elements of the next CAP.

The INHFA President concluded by saying, “that under no circumstances will the INHFA give the Minister an unchallenged run with his intended convergence pause, we will fight tooth and nail on this issue on behalf of the thousands of vulnerable farmers potentially affected. An emergency National Council meeting has been called for next Thursday 19th of December to advise members on a course of action”.