Sunday 11 December 2016

How billionaire farmers get taxpayer subsidies

Sean Duffy and Darragh McCullough

Published 19/09/2016 | 02:30

Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Picture: Reuters
Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Picture: Reuters

The stud farm owned by the ruler of Dubai and one of the Arab world's richest royals has received more than €300,000 in single farm payments from the EU over the past two years.

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who bought the Kildangan stud in Co Kildare in 1986, has a fortune estimated at close to €18bn.

The Irish Independent has learned that Kildangan stud farm received €162,046.59 in a single farm payment from the EU in 2015.

The farm was allocated a payment of €152,120 in 2014.

Documents seen by this newspaper show Kildangan also received €122,254 in 2008 and €127,502 in 2009. The Department of Agriculture did not release figures for single farm payments in the interim period, but it is believed Kildangan's farm payments have totalled more than €1m in the past decade.

The single farm payment is provided to farmers across the EU. The total provided to Irish farmers is €1.6bn, with the average payment standing at around €12,000.

The sheikh was one of the founders of the Emirates airline group and has been a key player in making Dubai a hub for international business over the past 25 years. His Godolphin firm also owns the Ballysheehan stud in Co Tipperary. Sheikh Mohammed has had interests in the horse racing world since the 1980s when he bought the Irish thoroughbred Appeal, which went on to produce nine winners.

Sheikh Mohammed is the owner of the world's third-biggest yacht, a 162-metre vessel that cost around €370m.

Irish Independent

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