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
|Big landowners are getting a bonanza in EU farm dole, which is payable for just letting the grass grow!|
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
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