Ferris calls for end to large farm payments
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD has again called for an end to exorbitant payments to individuals and in particular to companies which are not directly or exclusively engaged in farming.
He also expressed regret at the fact that negotiations on CAP failed to come to an agreement on allowing member states to impose an upper limit on payments below €150,000. Minister Coveney stated that he had argued in favour of a €100,000 limit but that was not agreed to.
Deputy Ferris said;
“There is a disproportionate amount of money which is paid to a small percentage of those entitled to payments. Less than two per cent of farmers in receipt of payments get a sum more than the total paid to the 40% of farmers at the bottom of the scale who receive less than €5,000 grand a year.
“There has been a lot of reference in the debate on changing the farm payments scheme to the need to protect active productive farmers. There is also the insinuation that some smaller scale producers are not proper farmers at all. Indeed there was reference made by one defender of large farmers to the minister needing to remember that he is the Minister for Agriculture not the Minister for Social Welfare.
“In that context I fail to see how defending the payment of over €500,000 to one of Larry Goodman’s companies, or €680,000 to Abbott which is a company involved in the pharmaceutical sector, fits in with the defence of productive or active farmers. And the same applies to beneficiaries in other states like the Queen of England who has received around €10 million in single farm payments over the last ten years. There are similarly ridiculous sums handed out to people and companies who are by no stretch of the imagination active farmers in other EU states.
“Such payments make no sense in relation to the stated aim of the Common Agricultural Policy to preserve the European family based farming system. Bringing them to an end would free up funds to ensure a fairer distribution of payments to small and medium producers. I would hope that the concession on the payments limit does not signal a surrender by the minister to the interests of larger beneficiaries.”