Filling the €3 billion hole in the EU’s coffers, post-Brexit, is a major concern for the IFA, according to the organisation’s President Joe Healy.

He made this comment while addressing a joint UFU-IFA meeting in Co. Derry last night.

This net reduction in funding courtesy of the UK leaving Europe could have an impact on the future financing of the CAP, said Healy.

“We have already raised the issue with Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan. However, he has yet to reply on the matter.”

Healy added that Dublin could not be counted on to fill the gap in future CAP funding levels, should one arise.

This is a red line issue for the IFA. The CAP delivers in spades for EU tax payers and farmers must not be left to pay the bill for the UK deciding to leave Europe.

Healy added that the IFA may well propose changes to the way Pillar 1 support funding is made available to farmers, in the context of the upcoming CAP review.

“We want to see active farmer securing a higher proportion of the monies that are available. In other words the CAP must become more production focused.

“Ensuring the sustainability of production agriculture is also good for the environment.”

Healy also noted that the UK’s departure from Europe could leave the door open for more productive discussions on agriculture, amongst the remaining EU of 27.

“Britain was always very negative when it came to discussing the level of support agriculture should receive. But there is now an opportunity for Ireland to build new relationships within Europe and, in so doing, secure more realistic farm support policies for the future.

“This is one of the very few potential benefits that could come out of the Brexit process, where Ireland’s agri food sectors are concerned.”