Farmers For No in disagreement with main farm organisations on likely effects of Fiscal Compact Treaty

The farmers’ group campaigning for a No vote in next week’s referendum, Farmers For No, have come out in disagreement with the main farm organisations on the likely effects of the Fiscal Compact Treaty being adopted. The group says that being the Yes men of Europe has impoverished the country to the extent that there will soon be a shortage of money for basic services and social wefare, with the result that farm subsidies are sure to be cut. Austerity in Ireland and the EU also means that prices for farm produce are likely to fall
Thurles Councillor Billy Clancy is on the steering committee of the Farmers for No group. He regrets that most people, farmers included, do not understand the origin and real purpose of farm subsidies which make up nearly 70% of farm income, even in a good year such as 2011.
Subsidising foreign consumers
“ In rough figures Ireland gives 1.5 bn euro to the EU annually and gets 1.8 bn euro in return, so that so-called EU subsidies and grants are 80% recycled Irish taxpayers’ money, originating in the same pot as money for health services, education and social welfare. Some farm grants are direct Irish govt. payments. The result of all this is that for every 10,000 euro the average farmer earns, 3,000 euro comes from farming activities, 6,000 euro comes from the Irish taxpayer and 1,000 euro comes from the taxpayers of other EU countries.
This means that the Irish taxpayer pays a large part of farmers’ wages, resulting in farm produce being sold below the true cost if a farmer’s wages were included. As 85% of our food is exported, this results in food heavily subsidised by the Irish taxpayer being sold to foreigners. That is why countries such as Germany and the UK go along with the CAP. They are getting lots of food subsidised by the Irish taxpayer. Our agri-food companies get a cheap product subsidised by the Irish taxpayer so they can make bigger profits. The 1,000 euro comming from other countries soon goes back to them in farm machinery purchases and cheap food.”
Cllr Clancy accused the main farm organisations of colluding with successive governments in pretending that farm subsidies were gifts from outside the country rather than correctly calling them what they were, subsidies from the Irish taxpayers.
Euro exit
The group also want to exit the euro, default on bank debt and devalue the new Irish currency. They say that the euro is 40% undervalued for German exports and 30% over valued in Ireland’s case. They claim that a devalued euro would increase prices for farm produce by 30%. Irish farmers should be looking at increasing the price paid for farm produce rather than selling out our country’s independence for the illusion of foreign subsidies.

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