As of Saturday morning, farmers who received either a Pillar I payment through the Single Farm Payment (now known as the Basic Payment Scheme), or a Pillar II payment – REPS, AEOS, Disadvantaged Area Payment, has their name, part of their address the amount of money they received in 2014 on the Department’s database.
A farmer who received a payment of under €1,250 will not see their details released.
The Department was directed by the European Commission to publish the details as the payments are funded through taxpayers’ money and it was a way to show transparency as EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said earlier this year.
It was common practice to publish these details in the past and may other European countries have already been doing the same for many years.
Previously, compulsory publication of payments was introduced following the Health Check in 2008. It identified farmers by name and townland address. The system was successfully legally challenged by German farmers and has been restricted since 2011 to only detailing payments made to limited companies.
The decision to recommence the publishing of the names, addresses and payment amounts has caused a stir here. Interventions were made not to have the full names published as there were security fears of publishing full addresses.
Concessions were sought and received. Instead of townlands and parishes being used, a farmer’s name and municipality will be used. These are the regions that the country is now divided into for the purpose of local elections and came into being after last year’s local elections
IFA president Eddie Downey said farmers are “extremely angry that the Minister for Agriculture and the EU Commission intend to breach confidentiality in respect of their personal financial data by proceeding with the publication of individual CAP payments”.