'Gain is minimal' capping farm payments at €60,000 - Creed
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed told the Dail this week that there are about 1,000 farmers in the country who receive a payment of more than €60,000.
It comes as the European Commission proposes to introduce a cap on EU subsidies at €60,000.
Minister Creed said the proposal was ‘good in principle’ but warned that when “the money is redistributed between 130,000 farmers, the gain is minimal”.
The Minister also said that farmers with off-farm income has been a significant feature of Irish rural communities for many years and will continue to be in the future and that he intends to ensure that such farmers will continue to be supported under any future Common Agricultural Policy.
“Like any of my predecessors and I assume any sane occupant of this office in the future, I will be motivated only by the best of intentions when it comes to dealing with that reality.
“I aim to ensure those farmers who are as genuine as any other farmer and as active as any other farmer, given the constraints on their holdings, will continue to be the focus of supports under the Common Agricultural Policy.
“They may not be able to generate a high income owing to those constraints, but they perform a host of other valuable services in the protection of the environment.
“They are really important players. They are both active and genuine. The fact that owing to economic necessity they may have to have an off-farm income does not in any way put them beyond supports under the Common Agricultural Policy, nor should it in the future,” he said.