THE European Parliament has voted in favour of a new ceiling on payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy.
Under the new system there would be a limit of €300,000 in the amount any individual farmer or corporation can receive in direct payments.
But a proposal to limit payments even further to a maximum of €100,000 was defeated in a vote in Strasbourg yesterday on a package of proposals to overhaul farm policy.
However, MEPs agreed that payments should be progressively reduced for all amounts from €150,000 on.
The CAP pays out around €50bn a year to farmers including €1.5bn in Ireland, and has attracted strong criticism in the past because of very high payments to some wealthy landowners and companies.
Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness said yesterday's vote on reform proposals was a "historic" first for the parliament as it had never before had the power to really shape farm policy.
It also voted for compulsory additional payments to young farmers to encourage and assist them into the profession.
But Socialist MEP Paul Murphy said the parliament had not done enough to protect the environment and avert economic crisis for the 34pc of 'vulnerable' small farmers.