Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy has said that there needs to be clarification about how much Ireland will have to contribute to the EU’s €1.8trn Budget for the next seven years and how much it will receive.
“We need to cut through the spin and get to the heart of the deal,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show.
Mr Carthy said that the Taoiseach had wanted to do a deal above all else and the substance was secondary.
The Common Agriculture Policy had taken a “huge hit” and was now lower than it had been in 2014 and the Rural Development Fund had also taken a substantial cut and had been halved.
“That’s really dangerous, there is much to be concerned about. We need to know how much we are putting in and we still don’t know what we’re getting out of it.”
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher acknowledged that “the minutae will still have to be addressed” but that it had been imperative that the Budget was agreed.
The Brexit Fund was important as Brexit would impact Ireland more than any other country. He was confident that any concerns with regard to CAP would be mitigated and that the agricultural sector would be looked after.
However, Mr Carthy reiterated that Irish people “will be paying substantially more” despite the fact that there were no “rock solid guarantees”.
It was “really concerning.”
Mr Kelleher pointed out that the contribution of each country will be determined by the economic performance of the country and will be based on GDP. “A strong Europe will be good for Ireland.”
The overall amount of funding had been agreed and a scheme will be put in place to draw down funds, he explained. Ireland cannot live in splendid isolation. It is part of Europe. “If Europe is doing well, we’re all doing well.”
Earlier today, the Taoiseach hailed the EU agreement on a €1.82trn budget and coronavirus recovery fund.
Micheál Martin said it is a strong deal which includes a substantial and significant package of measures.
The budget and recovery fund was finally agreed in the early hours of Tuesday after a marathon four-day summit in Brussels.
Agreement was struck over a EU budget for the next seven years and a €750bn coronavirus fund, made up of loans and grants for the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrn said that Ireland will be “top of the list” to avail of the €5bn ‘Brexit Adjustment Reserve’ which will offer funds for the countries and sectors worst-hit by the effect of Britain leaving the EU.
Mr Byrne told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the package signalled the benefit for Ireland of being part of a strong Europe.