Irish farmers to receive almost €10bn in supports under new Common Agricultural Policy

Farmers to receive a basic payment and be eligible to apply for inclusion in a variety of different schemes

Irish farmers are to receive almost €10 billion in grants, subsidies and supports under the new European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is due to be formally noted by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is to brief his colleagues on the latest CAP, which was agreed in Brussels a year ago and is intended to move EU agricultural policy in a more climate-friendly direction over the coming five years.

Farmers are to receive a basic payment and be eligible to apply for inclusion in a variety of different schemes, several of which aim to promote more environmentally friendly farming and land management practices.

Ireland will receive €9.8 billion from the overall CAP budget of €386 billion, divided between the basic payments – known as pillar one – and the schemes under which farmers can receive payments for specific actions, known as pillar two.


Mr McConalogue will seek the go-ahead at Cabinet to commence a range of schemes and supports under the coming weeks and months. This version of the CAP will run from next year to 2027.

He is to tell colleagues that this version of the policy has the highest ever level of environmental ambition, including a €1.5 billion agri-environmental scheme called ACRES, which will pay farmers up to €10,500 each.

The schemes have been the subject of lengthy negotiations at EU and Government level, with the Green Party seeking to push farming towards more environmentally friendly practices.

For their part, farmers and farming organisations have often been suspicious of the Greens, fearing that they wanted to make them change established methods of production.

Farming organisations also strongly opposed the Greens’ demands for the agriculture sector to play a larger role in plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases – a campaign in which they were supported by many Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbenchers.

The EU says that the CAP seeks to “enhance the contribution of agriculture to EU environmental and climate goals; provide more targeted support to smaller farms; and allow greater flexibility for member states in adapting measures to local conditions”.

Speaking on Monday night, Mr McConalogue said: “The next CAP is well-funded and farmer-friendly. It is aimed at supporting farm incomes while also ensuring that farm families continue to play their key role in food production and protecting the environment. The next CAP is our most ambitious ever and I am excited to see it roll out over the coming years.”

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times