Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan must clarify if he supports MEP Ciarán Cuffe’s letter to banks advising them not to lend to dairy farmers, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.

Last week, the Irish Farmers Journal revealed that Cuffe, a former minister of state at the Department of Agriculture, had written directly to bank CEOs stating that he was “concerned at reports that large loans are being advanced to young farmers to expand their cattle herds”.

Cullinan has said that letter “was a disgraceful act by a Dublin-based MEP, seeking to sabotage farmers and rural Ireland.

“It shows farmers that, despite all the guff about wanting to support them, the Green Party are in fact undermining farmers at every hand’s turn.

“Instead of this, they should be focusing on delivering low-cost finance options for Irish farmers to support better on-farm efficiencies to reduce emissions,” he said.

The IFA has called on Minister Ryan to set the record straight on this and tell farmers if he supports what Cuffe has done.

The IFA has said it will be writing to the pillar banks in relation to the MEP’s letter.

When asked by the Irish Farmers Journal last week if his letter was representative of Green Party policy, the MEP said it was a personal initiative of his to write to the bank CEOs and he was waiting on their replies.