Thursday, 11 April 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I linked the three items of Brexit, CAP and climate change together because I have met farmers over the last months who have became quite disillusioned with the way they are being portrayed and in how they are being supported. I accept the Tánaiste's comments on the supports that will be delivered, whatever form of Brexit develops over the next months. The uncertainty over CAP cannot be predicted but the farmers can certainly see, coming down the line, that they will be under severe financial pressure if there is a reduction in the CAP budget.
Because they are a traditional, indigenous industry, farming families feel they are now being blamed for climate change, for damaging the climate and for producing food that is deemed to be unhealthy. As I said earlier, a balanced diet is very important. Farmers need to be reassured that they are recognised as being custodians of the environment and the land, and that they are not producing products that damage people's health or damage children's health. Perhaps the Tánaiste might address this issue in his next response.