EU payment 'will go to armchair farmers'


EU plans to change the way it pays the annual single farm payment will take money from active farmers and give it to armchair farmers, the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine was told today.

The EU Commission is proposing that the payment be based on a flat payment per hectare, instead of on past production. Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association president John Comer told the committee he had great difficulty with this plan.

“If every hectare of land in Ireland gets the same payment attached to it I think there’s absolutely no incentive for the active farmer to remain active,” he said. “And it puts all the power, the financial power, into the hands of the armchair farmer rather than the active farmer.”

He pointed to the case of a full-time farmer with a reasonable single farm payment and said “what in the name of God is the justification for making him insolvent? That’s the production base of the country.”

Mr Comer also criticised the Law Society’s decision to introduce a regulation next January which will ban solicitors from acting for both sides in a property transaction. He said this would result in a “busload of solicitors” being needed in a case where parents were transferring land and property to several children.

And he highlighted the association’s pre-budget submission which calls for measures to make it easier to transfer farms to the next generation and to encourage the development of viable farms.

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