Deputy Martin Kenny
Following the publication of figures in the national press recently showing that the top ten recipients of CAP payments received over €200,000 each, with two farms in which Larry Goodman or his family are directors netting €217,153 and €214,275 respectively, Deputy Martin Kenny, Sinn Féin spokesman for agriculture, food and the marine, asked the Minister how this was compatible with a ceiling of €150,000 on payments.
Deputy Kenny said: “In the context of the Teagasc figures on farm incomes showing an average earning of €24,000 per annum for farms, the top 10 CAP recipients’ figures are shocking.
“The gap between rich and poor is enormous and this kind of differential is not in the spirit of the direct farm payments which are supposed to be creating a level playing field for farmers and to preserve and protect the agricultural sector," he said.
“The Minister told me that no one received over €150,000 in direct payments, but that the balance was made up variously of Greening, Young Farmer and Protein Aid Schemes.
“The heart of the matter, however, is that payments should be redirected to those in most need of support. The future reform of CAP after 2020 should include a definite ceiling on payments and a redirection of resources towards those farming small holdings, those farming in difficult conditions and to protect vulnerable farmers against the volatility of the market and climate.
“The government must stand up for small farmers and ensure that the family farm, the basic unit of the Irish farming sector for generations, be supported and helped to survive into the future. This is the bedrock of the quality produce of which we can be proud and that quality can only suffer if the scales are weighted in favour of millionaires at the expense of the small farmer.”