Six Donegal farmers paid over €100,000 last year

OVER 8,000 farmers in Donegal received €60million in direct payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy last year, with one farmer receiving almost €158,000.
New figures published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week show direct payments to farmers rose by over €1m to €1.19bn in 2020, although there were almost 800 fewer claimants compared to 2019.
The single biggest recipient in Donegal was Letterkenny farmer Paul Carr who was paid €157,919 in direct payments out of a total of €166,000 he received across various EU schemes.
A total of 169 farmers received a direct payment in excess of €100,000 in 2020 including six from Donegal.
Seamus Thomas from outside Donegal Town received the second-largest payment of €127,552 while Jack Porter Ltd., a company in Lusticle, Carrigans, received the third-highest payment of €124,380 followed by George Wilson Ltd., Stranorlar with a payment of €124,322.
Letterkenny farmer Brian Johnston and Niall McAleer, Stranorlar – received payments of €107,386 and €107,248 respectively.
Donegal’s 8,161 farmers received an average payment of €7,318.
Under the proposed reform of CAP, the capping of direct payments at €100,000 is being considered.
The Donegal Local Development Company received the largest single amount in the county last year – over €2.1m.
The Department of Agriculture is obliged to publish details of all beneficiaries of CAP payments in excess of €1,250 each year.
Both the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association have criticised the publication of the details on EU payments to farmers, claiming they represent a breach of privacy.
However, the European Commission has insisted the figures are published in order to be transparent about how taxpayers’ money is spent.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein TD Pádraig MacLochlainn has called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to appear before the Dáil to explain his stance on CAP negotiations.
During the talks there had been resistance from farm ministers, including Ireland’s, to the mandatory imposition of redistributive measures.
This would see front-loaded payment in the form of extra top-ups on the first hectares of a farm introduced on top of further convergence and capping.

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