Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fianna Fail wants to slash the maximum EU payment farmers can receive

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Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Calls are being made for the Basic Payment Scheme under CAP to have a maximum ceiling of €60,000.

Fianna Fail agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue has outlined it is party policy to seek the limits in light of the latest figures released by the Department of Agriculture under EU rules that show a number of individuals receive high six figure CAP payments.

"Considering that the vast majority of farmers are earning a fraction of this, the current structure needs urgent change. Future reforms should permit Member States to decide on the capping of direct payments at national level.

"It is our view that the current payment ceiling should be reduced from €150,000 under the Basic Payment Scheme to €60,000. Based on 2016 data, over 99pc of all Irish farmers received a basic payment of under €60,000," said Mr McConalogue.

Read also: Revealed: From Larry Goodman to a Dubai sheikh - the Irish farmers who receive the largest EU payments

"Such a change will ensure that future CAP funds safeguard farmers on small hectares with entitlements following the 10pc cut in direct payments negotiated under the 2014-2020 CAP deal," he said.

Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue.
Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue.

Big businesses, meat processors, stud farms owned by Sheikhs and co-ops take the biggest slice of the EU payments.

The latest figures show the average direct payment to farmers was €18,000, however, many major enterprises are earning multiples of this according to the latest figures for 2016 published under EU rules.

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The Waterford-based Quelly brothers, John and Peter, who launched Dawn Meats in the '80s, took in €225,165, while ABP's Larry Goodman and his family received €217,153 at Branganstown and €214,275 through their Glydee farm.

State-sponsored bodies such as Bord Bia received €2.28m, the dairy marketing body Ornua received €1.6m, while Teagasc, which operates a number of farms and research centres, received over €6m.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, operates Kildangan stud farm that took in €156,000, while Godolphin racing received €167,000 for 2016.

The diverse EU payments that range from aid to the fruit and veg sector, private storage payments, school schemes to direct payments took a €1.3bn slice of the EU's €55bn Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) monies.

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