“Next government must implement payment limits to ensure fairer CAP” – Chris MacManus MEP
Sinn Féin slam exorbitant direct payments as Wealthiest corporate farm owners grow richer
Following the release of details on the top recipients of direct payments, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, a member of the EU Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, has said the system is broken if farmers are struggling while we hand out millions to landowners and farm enterprises.
“Outrage in the farming community is justified. Farmers have faced unsustainably low prices, Brexit uncertainty and covid19 all in the last couple of years. We are in danger of losing the Irish family farm model if intervention is not swift.”
“Every year it is revealed that millions of CAP funds are paid to corporate farm enterprises and wealthy landowners. Sinn Fein would limit direct payment to EUR 60,000 as a matter of urgency. It needs to be brought back to its intended purposes of providing a decent living to active farmers.
“Minister Creed dismissed this policy during the election campaign in February as ‘populist claptrap’. It is clear to me that the vast majority of farmers want to see a more equitable distribution that supports active farmers. And, not to pad the margins of profitable companies or top up large incomes.
“The injustice is clear when you see meat processors responsible for driving down the cost of beef to below the cost of production are the same people receiving some of the largest CAP payments. Or, that we are giving Sheikh Mohommed of Dubai, the ruler of the UAE and one of the richest men in the world, hundreds of thousands in subsidies for his stud farm in Kildare. The minister for agriculture must consider if standing over these practices is in the best interests of equality for farmers.
“We do not even always know who the ultimate beneficiaries of these subsidies are. While many of these farm enterprises were at one time family businesses, now their ownership structures are now far more complex. They often have close links to multinational food companies who should not benefit from financial support intended for farmers.
“There is work under way in the Agricultural Committee in the European Parliament to draft legislation that would bring in stricter regulation on ‘ultimate beneficial ownership’. As things stand there is very little oversight on this issue. Sinn Fein will continue to work closely with willing partners in Europe to push this forward.
“Sinn Fein will continue to demand reforms to ensure direct payments are reserved for active farmers. Ireland has the flexibility under the current CAP to limit payments, we want to see that reduced to EUR 60,000”. ENDS