Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that the confirmation from the Department of Agriculture that over €3.6 million in direct payments went to just 20 farm enterprises in 2020 highlights the ludicrous position of Minister McConalogue, who has been fighting against any redistribution measures in CAP negotiations.
CAP negotiations that were expected to conclude this week ended without agreement on Friday due to resistance from the Irish government on redistributive measures.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Irish family farms are being put to the wall because Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreed to an EU budget that reduced the proportion spent on the Common Agricultural Policy from 37% to under 30%.
“Farmers are being asked to do more for less money in real terms. All the while Minister McConalogue is fighting tooth and nail against any proposals aimed at bringing fairness to the payments system.
“Department of Agriculture figures now show that two farms associated with Larry Goodman received €414,900 in 2020, an increase of almost €15,000 on 2019. €15,000 is more than many farmers receive in totality.
“A single stud farm owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum received €222,300!
“These are obscene amounts of money that are directed to a very small number of elite farm enterprises. That these figures are released just days after Minister McConalogue jeopardised CAP negotiations in opposition to redistributive measures will come as a slap in the face to the majority of Irish family farmers that would benefit from such moves.
“Sinn Féin wants CAP payments to be redistributed. We believe that there should be a maximum upper limit payment of €60,000 and we believe that payments should be front-loaded to protect small and medium sized farms.
“The Minister is fighting tooth and nail in Europe against any redistribution – he is demanding ‘flexibility’ not to implement measures aimed at delivering fairness.
“Charlie McConalogue has joined a long line of Irish Agriculture Ministers who have been opposed to the redistribution of CAP funds that would benefit small-to-medium farmers.
“In light of these new most shocking figures, it is an absolute necessity that the Minister appear before the Dáil this week to explain his position.”