Farmers want tighter control of EU funds data
Published 02/06/2015 | 02:30
Farmers are demanding security measures be put in place to keep track of who has access to information on the €1.8bn in EU payments to more than 130,000 farmers.
There was a flurry of activity on the Department of Agriculture's website as the information required to be made public under EU transparency measures showed more than 330 farmers and rural businesses received more than €100,000 in direct payments from Brussels last year.
Farming organisations are calling for a registration system - at the very least - but would still prefer the payments remain anonymous, and are set to raise the issue with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
It comes as a leading agriculture expert said the details of the payments to individual farmers could be provided with "more privacy".
However, Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy at Trinity College, argued it is "perfectly legitimate" to publish the details of the larger firms.
John Comer, president of the ICMSA, said that his association has genuine concerns about the fairness and security of such a move at a time when rural residents are being targeted by criminals. He called for a degree of "supervision" over who is accessing the list and why they are accessing the list.
IFA president Eddie Downey called for any person wishing to access the information on the Department's website to be required to register their name, address and contact details.