The Department of Agriculture has claimed there was no underspend in the €100m Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM).

Some €77m from the fund was drawn down by farmers and of this figure, almost €18m is in the process of being clawed back from 13,000 farmers by the Department, leaving in the region of €40m of an underspend.

Ireland received €50m from the European Commission to fund the scheme, co-financed by €50m from the exchequer, with the scheme announced as a €100m scheme in 2019.

“There was no underspend. BEAM was a demand led scheme and the money allocated to the scheme was determined by the number and type of eligible animals,” a Department spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“The €50m exceptional aid allocated to Ireland from the EU was fully spent and an additional €27m was provided by the Irish exchequer to cover the full spend under the scheme.

“It should also be remembered that the budget for the nationally funded BEEP scheme, which started off as a pilot scheme back in 2019 (when BEAM was introduced), has increased significantly, with it standing at €45m in 2022, covering BEEP-Suckler and Dairy Beef Calf measure,” they added.