Independent MEP Marian Harkin has described criticism by the IFA towards her “attitude” to Pillar 2 of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP ), as “a total misrepresentation and an attempt to deflect the attention of farmers”.
Speaking after the farming organisation launched a scathing attack on the north/west MEP over the matter, Ms Harkin said, “As of now, there is a need to focus on Pillar 1 for which there are tangible proposals”. “It is necessary to focus on Pillar 1, rather than on Pillar 2 for which we are awaiting commitments from the Minister as to levels of co-financing and the detail of proposed schemes,” fumed Harkin. “At the many meetings I have held with IFA officers, and at public meetings that I organised throughout the north/west constituency, I emphasised the great importance of Pillar 2. However, I had also warned that the huge cuts to Pillar 2 schemes over the last few years had left many farmers struggling badly and that the immediate focus needed to be on Pillar 1 and the Single Farm Payment (SFP).”