CAP figures show huge disparity in what farmers received

More than €300,000 given to some farmers in EU scheme while average is under €19,000

 

The Department of Agriculture is publishing details of payments received by farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this weekend.

Member states are obliged to publish the information on or before Sunday, May 31st, to comply with EU regulations to encourage transparency.

The department began making the information available on Friday afternoon on agriculture.gov.ie, but the data was only available intermittently and a spokeswoman said the site would go live at 8.30am this morning.

The figures published showed a huge disparity in payments to farmers around the State from October 16th, 2013, to October 15th, 2014.

Farmers in Co Cork received more than €164 million in single-farm payment – the main farm subsidy – last year, while farmers in Leitrim received €18.4 million. Farmers who received less than €1,250 are anonymous on the website and a code is used instead of a name and address. For all another farmers the municipal district is used.

Under the EU policy farmers receive the payments in return for looking after farm land and meeting environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards. That money comes from the annual EU budget.

Second pillar

The figures also contain all payments under a second pillar which includes rural development, farm improvement and environmental schemes. This pillar is co-funded by member states, and includes payments to Leader groups.

Among the highest payments to individual farmers under the single-farm payment scheme was a sum of €367,648.88 to Walter Furlong from Enniscorthy and €309,610.92 to John Baptist Doyle in the Cashel district. Thomas Morrin in Athy received just over €300,000.

These payments would not be those of typical farmers.

Research published by Teagasc in recent days found that the average subsidy payment received by farmers last year was €18,859, and the single-farm payment accounted for €13,849 of this sum.

Farms owned by meat processors feature among the highest single-farm payments. The figures show that the farm owned by meat processor Kepak in Co Meath received €257,482.67 under the single-farm payment scheme last year. John and Peter Queally of Dawn Meats in Co Waterford received €245,883.

Farm organisations have been warning against the publication of this information. On hearing the Department of Agriculture was in the process of publishing the details, IFA president Eddie Downey said farmers were “extremely angry” that their confidentiality was being breached and their personal financial data made public.

ICMSA president John Comer said farmers accepted the need for transparency but they had genuine fears that criminals would target farm families.

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