Monday 27 February 2017

Publishing farmers' names and addresses is a dangerous proposal

Seamus Boland

The plan to publish farmer's names and addresses could prove dangerous
The plan to publish farmer's names and addresses could prove dangerous

The plan to resume publication of the names and addresses of some 130,000 Irish farmers who are beneficiaries of approximately €1.8bn will endanger the security of thousands of mainly small holders living in isolated rural areas.

The image of people accessing the information revolves around two main set of voyeurs - the media on one hand and, on the other, criminals eyeing up the names and addresses of farmers and their familie.

The European Court of Justice ruled in 2010 that publication of such data went far beyond the need to provide transparency and in fact breached people's rights to privacy. The unique structure of Irish farming is based on a model of land ownership which means that the thousands of small holders in receipt of payments are in fact families; not companies or corporate identities.

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