Tipperary farmer Pat McCormack, ICMSA President
Commenting on the National Planning Framework, the President of ICMSA said that while the publication of the plan is welcome – specifically the additional funding for rural areas - the plan will be ultimately be judged by the level of implementation that rural areas and rural-based organisations actually see.
Pat McCormack said that absent that real implementation the plan could end up being seen as another false dawn for rural areas.
On rural planning the ICMSA President said that he welcomed the inclusion of social criteria in applications to build in rural areas where previously only ‘economic need’ was considered, but he noted, once again, that the test of this positive commitment would be the actual implementation on the ground and its success in allowing people to build in their local community.
On the issue of agriculture, the general commitments made are welcome, but these must be set against the very disappointing and unacceptable CAP 2020 options the Commission revealed this week.
Mr McCormack called on the Taoiseach to avail of the opportunity at the upcoming informal EU Council Meeting presented to clearly set out Ireland’s total opposition to any cut in the CAP budget.
Concluding, Mr. McCormack said that National Planning Framework at least acknowledged that investment in rural areas has fallen behind and it did outline a number of positive initiatives, but judgement would await actual implementation.
ICMSA welcome confirmation that shipping for live cattle exports has been secured
Meanwhile, Mr McCormack has welcomed the approval of a ship for the trsansportation fo livestock.
Speaking following the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine that a replacement ship has been approved to transport livestock to continental Europe, the President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that credit was due to the Minister, his officials and Stena Line for their efforts on this critical matter and their success will now ensure that Irish livestock – particularly calves - will be able to be shipped to their markets over the coming weeks.
Mr McCormack said that ICMSA had met directly with Minister Creed this matter last week and had impressed upon him the absolute requirement that appropriate shipping was secured and farmers hearing the news would welcome the reassurance it provided.
Mr McCormack noted that the peak calf trade is just about to commence and the announcement that shipping facilities have been secured gives the farmers vital options and should ensure a higher ‘floor’ price for those calves. He concluded by calling on the live exporters and An Bord Bia to focus on maximising the benefits of this trade over the coming months.