'Fairer CAP' needed to tackle east-west divide on payments
Eighty-seven Irish farmers received in excess of €125,000 under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) last year, with a further 102 getting between €100,000 and €125,000.
The figures are included in Department of Agriculture data which was released to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) following a freedom of information request.
The number of high earners is just a fraction of the 124,000 farmers who qualify for CAP payments - less than 1pc received over €100,000 in Waterford last year even though the county has the highest average BPS. However, the group of high earners invariably includes some of the agri-sector's elite.
Among the top earners from the BPS each year are ABP owner Larry Goodman, the Queally brothers who are major shareholders in Dawn Meats, and the O'Shea family who own Iverk Produce in south Kilkenny.
The counties with highest number of farmers receiving payments over €100,000 were Cork and Meath, each with 29 recipients.
Kildare comes next with 10 farmers who received in excess of €100,000 in 2017, while Louth had 11 and Waterford had 10.
The northwest also had a small number of farmers with very high entitlements. One farmer in Mayo received over €100,000, there was one in Sligo, and seven in Donegal.
The Department figures are certain to reignite the argument around the capping of EU supports.