Can We Have Our Money Back?



Acting agriculture minister Simon Coveney at the Ploughing Championships in Stradbally, Co Laois in 2014


Seán McCárthaigh in The Times Ireland edition reports:

Taxpayers have had to pick up an EU bill of almost €70 million in overpayments to Irish farmers mainly because the Department of Agriculture failed to accurately validate claims.

The farmers have been allowed to keep the money they were wrongly paid and the state has reimbursed the European Union through central funds.

The department claimed that high-resolution aerial photography was not available before 2012 to accurately measure whether farmers were submitting true assessments of their land holdings.

Only €4 million has been recouped from individual farmers as Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, expressed his “clear preference” that the repayments should be funded through the exchequer.

Documents obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act provide the full details of how the European Commission sought the return of €181 million in May 2014 for payments made between 2008 and 2014.

The department claimed that the figure should only be €31.1 million, but reached an agreement last November to pay back €68.9 million.

Seems legit.

Taxpayer hit with €70m bill for overpaid farmers (The Times)

Pic: Random Irish Photo

Thanks Richard

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27 thoughts on “Can We Have Our Money Back?

  1. ahjayzis

    The agriculture minister is basically the lobbyist/PR guy for farmers at EU level, they’re his boss, of course he’ll bail them out.

    Contrast that with the relationship between welfare claimants and the Social Protection Minister.

    1. Lan

      I hear it was the farmers who was behind the JFK assignation too

      Hell the illuminati have nothing on them boggers, right?

      1. ahjayzis

        Lan, I’m lambasting the minister, not the farmers. Try reading things twice if they’re not sinking in, pet.

        It’s fact that under the CAP Irish ag ministers are basically the farmers rep at the table in Brussels.

        1. classter

          But hold on, were these farmers providing false claims?

          That is fraud.

          If so, we should be bashing the farmers.

    2. Charles

      This is an embarrassing statement to read as a human. Sort yourself out. Mr Coveney acts for his good self only. To think otherwise is foolish in the extreme.

  2. 15 cents

    another example of our unqualified numb nutz gettin rings ran around them by Europe .. owed 30 mil paid nearly 70 mil.

    1. Twunt

      This is not Europe’s fault, this is our government’s fault for not validating the claims of farmers and then for not recouping overpayments. A fool and his money are soon parted.

  3. jespertul

    Don’t the Coveneys own a farm at Minane Bride, Co Cork, and isn’t his older brother CEO of Greencore?

  4. Lan

    Oh I love half stories. So so fun.

    Everytime a recalculation is done for the BPS (formerly SFP) on digitised maps plenty of land is deemed either except (as in not eligible for payment) or the actual area is reduced.

    So far we’ve had some whoppers, like Cavan farmers losing thousands. Why? Because the land area was massively reduced on average due to the very clever people behind the digitising didnt realise that Cavan have lots and lots of hills. Looking at a flat map of a hilly county makes it look like much less area

  5. TheRichList

    I always feel sorry for the farmers who can’t put food on the table. This confirms this view. Pricks

  6. Sheik Yahbouti

    Ah shure what’s new? Farmers, ‘professional classes’, ‘business men’…we all know that the only people you can go after in this country are alleged ‘dole cheats ‘.

  7. Walter-Ego

    And not one person will be held accountable. Shur it’s only our money. Who gives a fupp?

  8. D2dweller

    Culchies sponging off the state as usual. Dublin has been subsiding the boggers for too long

  9. DarDar

    So there were no penalties for inaccurate reporting and now we have to pick up the tab. How could this have been overlooked.

  10. Truth in the News

    70 Million really, on what was it overpaid, imagery derived from a satellite, is it
    accurate, was the area physically surveyed from 400 miles up, can the satellite
    measure ground contours ie hills and hollows, what has being going on from
    the mid 90’s is the area based claims are based on imagery which cannot accurately
    measure the precise area, this can only be carried out by a ground survey
    When did the Dept of Agriculture carry out such a physical survey on the farms
    of all the claimants, as to repayments the money has been clawed back from
    farmers, however when farmers in the south west raised the survey issue and
    informed the Dept that there would be a test case…the Dept backed off
    In the end the entire issue is a smoke screen to provide jobs for Dept Officals
    and Imagery Consultants….why wasn’t the Ordnance Survey asked to verify
    the anomolies if any., ironically the original maps when submitted in the 1990’s
    were from the Ordnance Survey, incidently how much do Greencore and Coilte
    get in Eu payments.

  11. classter

    Hold on.

    Was it clear how the area should be calculated?
    Did farmers then submit false claims?
    The Dept should have done better but they are not primarily at fault.

    The farmers should be jailed & the money reclaimed.

    It is that simple.

    Please tell me I’m reading the story incorrectly.

  12. Truth in the News

    Its quite simple the Dept of Agriculture have being trying to reduce the size of
    the counrty, but rather oddly they have never bothered to compensate a farmer
    who has more area than he claimed for, in many cases shadow features such
    as hedges and trees have being included as overclaimed area’s.
    The entire issue is a farce, its to povide a market for expensive satellite imagery
    the employment of consultants and don’t forget a large army of bureaucrats
    In fact if those who have being underpaid and those who have being subject to
    claw back sue….it will add up to a good bit more than 70 million….as the Dept
    did not physically survey farms.

  13. John Williams

    From the very beginning land measurement has been a problem.It is quite technical due to the EU rules. For instance 10m headland which remain uncultivated around 4 sides of a field have to be left out. Paths and rights of way have to be measured and left out. Using ordnance survey maps with the area of every field marked on it without deducting all the disallowed areas means that the area is very easily overstated because the OS maps are digitised but the areas to be deducted are not. When you add in the short time-frame every year in which an farmer has to get his application in it would be astonishing if there were not major issues.It is an ongoing problem and long a matter of dispute between farmers and the Dept.

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