Farmers need a strong well-funded IFA to do the business for farmers.

With over 70,000 members, IFA must balance membership, levy and other funding to finance the work at National and European level and I believe farmers get very good value for money from their IFA membership.

The EIF was originally introduced to fund IFA European work and the IFA permanent office in Brussels. This work at EU level and our association with COPA, other EU Farm organisations, the European Parliament and EU institutions was never more important and relevant for Irish farmers than it is now.

We need to be more decisive about the Association’s future funding. With strong leadership, farmers will support and fund a strong IFA that is working hard and delivering for its members.

Of course, I am aware of the perception and criticism of the EIF levy, but let’s be clear, the EIF funding does not belong to the marts, meat factories or co-ops. The EIF levy is farmers’ money, paid by farmers to support the Association to work for farmers.

Never in my time has the EIF in any way interfered with or compromised any decision of IFA.