PARIS: Agricultural colleges, stud farms and meat processors were among the big beneficiaries of €1.8bn worth of payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Farm organisations hit out at the publication of the funding, which was uploaded to the Department of Agriculture website, describing it as a “security threat” that would place rural families at risk.
Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Eddie Downey described it as a “breach” of confidentiality to release farmers’ personal financial data. He urged Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to challenge this “unacceptable” infringement.
John Comer, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), also raised concerns that publishing the information could attract the attention of criminals.
Mr Comer said his organisation had a “major problem” with a publicly accessible website, and called for some “degree of supervision”.
However, the Department of Agriculture stated it was required to make public the details of the individual payments to 130,000 Irish farmers and businesses by the May 31 deadline. The figures show that the size of payments vary throughout the country, as Cork received €215.8m, while Tipperary took in €129.3m and Galway received €133m last year. However, farmers in Carlow took in €34.5m, while those in Louth received €25.8m.
The details of the €1.2bn in CAP payments included the name of the recipient and the amount. However, the person’s municipal district under the electoral register is posted up, rather than their postal address. Only CAP payments over €1,250 have been published.
In addition to the CAP payments, details of the €600,000 paid to farmers under schemes to support the running of farms, such as the disadvantaged area payments, aid for the fruit and veg sector and environmental schemes, have been revealed.
The EU payments, from October 16, 2013, to October 15, 2014, showed a wide variation across the country in the monies received under the scheme.
In Dublin, Bord Bia received €1.244m, and the Irish Dairy Board Co-op received €350,851 in payments last year. In Meath, a farm owned by meat processor Kepak received €257,482, while in Waterford Glanbia Foods Society Ltd received €360,671.
Well-known names included John and Peter Queally of Dawn Meats, who received €686,958.
In Cork, Thomas O’Brien in Cobh received €444,412, while Walter Furlong in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, received €377,648. Agricultural colleges were also listed, with Teagasc receiving €98,546 in Carlow and €122,254 for its Grange Research Centre in Meath. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary’s wife Anita, who runs a beef farm in Westmeath, received a payment of €17,417.