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News : Irish Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15


Beef baron Goodman receives €10,000 a week from EU in farm dole
By Finfacts Team
Aug 4, 2005, 12:12

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Big landowners are getting a bonanza in EU farm dole, which is payable for just letting the grass grow!
Beef baron Larry Goodman is receiving €10,000 a week in farm dole from Brussels under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to a report in the Irish Independent.

The newspaper says that the multi-millionaire businessman's company Irish Agricultural Development tops the list of Irish beneficiaries of the Single Farm Payment Scheme.

It will receive more than half a million euro a year (€508,390) in subsidies for the foreseeable future whether or not it produces any food from its land.

Goodman (68) and his wife Kitty, residing at Braganstown House, Castlebellingham, Co Louth are listed as directors of the company.

It is registered at Milestown, Castlebellingham and has a share value of more than €17.5m, belonging to Jersey-based Castlewellan Unlimited, another Goodman-owned company.

Goodman is Europe's largest beef processor and one of the wealthiest businessmen in Ireland.

Irish Agricultural Development is the single biggest recipient of EU farm grants in this country according to information released to the Irish Independent by the Department of Agriculture under the Freedom of Information Act.

The new CAP payments system was introduced this year and all previous grants paid on individual animals and crops are pooled into one annual payment.

The CAP payment is made regardless of what is produced on the land. It replaces the subsidies system, which promoted overproduction. The only requirement for payment is that a farmer's land be kept in "good agricultural condition" which according to the newspaper, top officials have conceded could simply mean keeping the grass cut.

Kepak Farm, part of the meat processing group owned by the Keating family, is the second biggest recipient of EU subsidies in Ireland, with entitlements of €346,118-a-year on their feed lot.

Individual farmers make up the remaining names on the list of the top 20 earners from the EU, with some receiving up to €6,000 a week.

The Department told the Irish Independent that it considered the public interest was best served by granting the request for the information, although the addresses of the recipients are not disclosed.

However, four farmers have objected to having their names and details of the amounts received being released. All amounts are six-figure sums. Their names have been withheld from the list to give them two weeks to appeal the decision to the Information Commissioner.

Well-known names on the list include Cyril Goode from Arklow in Co Wicklow, a vet and renowned pedigree cattle-breeder and importer who has specialised in producing prize Simmental and Charolais cattle. He receives €257,000 a year from Brussels.

Richard H Bourns from Lisbeg farms in Eyrecourt, Co Galway is 19th on the list, receiving €173,000 for his 1,600-acre beef and sheep holdings, while Denis Feighery, a beef supplier to the K Club receives €177,000. Beef farmers dominate the list because this was traditionally the sector in Ireland that attracted the highest EU subsidies.

Figures from the UK show that rich farmers are also getting richer there because of the CAP with the Queen getting more than €750,000 a year from Brussels while Prince Charles gets close to €1m in annual subsidies.

Fierce lobbying from member states resulted in a proposal to cap EU farm subsidies at €300,000 being rejected.

The average payment to Irish farmers is a more modest €10,000 annually, although some 3,000 of them receive more than €40,000 a year from the Single Farm Payment according to Department figures.

Related:

Ireland's net receipts from EU Budget rose €34m in 2004; Irish top per capita beneficiaries in EU15 at €396

EU CAP policy and resistance to reform


© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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