IFA President John Bryan has rejected claims by Irish Rural Link about European funding for agriculture as misleading, inaccurate and without basis.

John Bryan said, “This organisation is looking for increased Leader funding as part of the post-2013 CAP review. Ironically, Leader funding made available to Ireland under the current Rural Development Plan has not been drawn down. 75% remains unspent from an allocation of €466m, which illustrates the lack of impact by the organisations that Irish Rural Link claims to represent.”

The IFA President said agriculture has demonstrated the capacity to generate economic activity and jobs in the rural economy, and contributes €8bn in exports to the overall economy. “The Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Strategy identifies growth potential for the agri-food sector that would increase exports by 50% to €12bn. This is clear evidence of the effectiveness of the agricultural sector to deliver a strong return on investment from the various farm schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy.”

IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley challenged Irish Rural Link to bring forward any proposals that would match the performance of agriculture. “IFA’s clear message is that EU funding targeted at active producers will convert into tangible benefits for the rural economy. During the negotiations in the coming months, the Government must not be distracted by spurious arguments around where EU funding should be directed.”

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