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Independent.ie

Monday 23 October 2017

Creed pours cold water on Fianna Fail’s plans to lower farm payments cap to €60k

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has pour cold water on Fianna Fail’s plans to lower the cap on farm subsidies to €60,000.

It comes following the recent publication of the payments received by farmers which saw some farmers in receipt of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of euro in payments from Europe through the Common Agricultural Policy.

Meanwhile, the average direct payment per farm was nearly €18,000 last year - which was 75pc of farm income on average and almost 100pc of the income on cattle and sheep farms.

Fianna Fail has put forward a proposal to cut top payments to €60,000 a move which it says would save €80m.

Read More: Revealed: From Larry Goodman to a Dubai sheikh - the Irish farmers who receive the largest EU payments

Its Agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has said it is important that that is done fairly and said lowering the cap on payments to €60,000 would increase the overall legitimacy of CAP budget.

According to McConalogue, 99pc of farmers are currently under the threshold and the move would only affect 1pc of farmers.

However, responding to questioning on the proposal last week, Minster for Agriculture Michael Creed said the current cap of €150,000 on basic payments is set down in the Direct Payments Regulations and lowering the limit below this amount would require a legislative change in the European Council.

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He said this something that has not been envisaged by the Commission as part of their ongoing simplification programme.

Minister Creed said Ireland had already imposed the lowest payment CAP permissible in the EU Regulations to limit payments to Irish farmers to a maximum of €150,000.

He said in respect of fairness and equity, under Pillar I,   farmers who hold entitlements that have an Initial Unit Value that is below 90% of the Basic Payment Scheme national average see the value of their entitlements increase gradually over the five years of the scheme and by 2019, all entitlements for all farmers in Ireland will be at least 60% of the National Average value.

“I am however committed to lowering the basic payment ceiling to €100,000, in line with the programme for Government. 

“ I will be seeking to address this matter in the context of the future reform of the CAP. 

“Proposals from the Commission in this regard are not expected until early 2018 and I will be tabling the matter at the appropriate point as discussions on the future policy evolves,” he said.


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