On CAP reform and EU subsidies

In the Belfast Telegraph, Michael Drake helpfully points out that the Ulster Farmers Union president, Campbell Tweed, was among the top ten earners from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) here during the past two years. Hmm.. No wonder he criticised the release of the figures.. which you can find here.. Michael Drake also points out that DARD’s own College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise CAFRE, received £114,054 in EU subsidies in 2004 – part of the education it provides? I was also interested to see a statement released in Feb 2005, from then Minister Ian Pearson “I am pleased that over £80 million of farm subsidy payments have been paid to farmers from October 2004 up to the start of February 2005. This will be a welcome boost to farm incomes..” Are the NIO still pleased with the level of EU subsidies though?

As we’ve already noted, there a unanimity amongst our own politicians on this issue, a rare thing indeed, and we can add Fine Gael to that list too.

  • declan

    Its the same in the South of the country. The biggest farmers have the biggest clout in the IFA. The interests of smaller farmers is never a priority. The recent reform has CAP has been a disaster for retired farmers who may be relying on leasing their land for a pension.

    Then again Unions always favour the wealthy and not the poorer sections. Look at the civil service; the pay of temporary staff or junior civil servants – £11.5k or even less.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    My heart won’t be bleeding for junior civil servants any time soon. Nor for farmers’ subsidies. The CAP is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the EU – maybe Euro-sceptics might be less Euro-sceptical if the priorities of the EU weren’t so unbelievably up the left!

    It’s not often I find myself agreeing with King Tony I but in this case he’s right. The money being spent on oversupplying Europe with food would be better spent investing in hi-tech industries and research.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “Look at the civil service; the pay of temporary staff or junior civil servants – £11.5k or even less”

    Yes but give them 10 years then one would expect their income to have more than doubled whereas with farmers their income is always decreasing.

    The average income for a farmer is £84 per hectare.

  • fair_deal

    J Ruddell Armagh got 2p – hardly worth his/her time filing in the forms let alone some luckless souls with the job of processing and checking it. One fifteenth of the costs of the stamp to send him his cheques (or BACS acknowledgement). About a tenth got less than £250.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “About a tenth got less than £250”
    It depends on how many cattle the farmer punches.

  • spikslow

    It’s obvious to anyone who cares to look that this debate is not being driven from london. The British are not particularly concerned with CAP as long as they have their rebate. The problem was started when Paris began nattering about the rebate and wanting it reformed. CAP shouldn’t be renegotiated, I’ll accept that, but the british rebate is an implicit part of our agreement to it.

    The launching of this debate at the start of the UK presidency which was hailed for months as a chance for reform is more than a little transparent. The unreformed types to the east of these islands can breathe a sigh of relief that their unemployed lives won’t be shaken up anytime soon.