Northern Ireland joins list of those penalised by EU

Following the news last week that Scotland had had £100 million in penalties removed from the cash it receives from the European Union, a similar story emerged yesterday from Northern Ireland.

As was the case in Scotland, the penalty was imposed on the Irish as a result of discrepancies in the sums claimed for areas of land such as bracken, scree and roads, all of which have been ruled by European authorities to be ineligible for single farm payments.

Northern Ireland rural affairs minister Michelle O’Neill said that £82m had already been “set aside” but none of the cash had come out of front line programmes.

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She added that other member states had also faced “disallowances” and that Northern Ireland was by no means the worst.