The European Commission has today ordered Ireland to claim €13 billion in back taxes from the US technology firm Apple.
The move comes following what the European Commission describes as selective treatment of Apple by Ireland through two tax rulings in 1991 and 2001.
But, what could the Irish farming sector do with €13 billion, if by some mistake it made its way to farmers pockets?
1. Doubling of all farm payments for the next 8 years
If by some chance, the €13 billion was lodged to the accounts of the Department of Agriculture, it could potentially allow the Department to double all farm payments over the next eight years.
The Department of Agriculture spends in the region of €1.6 billion in European funds on farm payments on an annual basis.
And if the €13 billion was made available to fund direct payments between now and 2024, there would still be a considerable chunk of change left over.
2. Two Toyota Land Cruisers for every farm
If the money was divided between each of Ireland’s 139,600 farmers it would equate to a once of payment of just over €93,000.
This payment would allow every farmer in Ireland to buy two new Toyota Land Cruisers, with the 2.8L Long-Wheel-Base D-4D 177 model costing €42,450.
This would also leave the farmer with a rainy day fund of just over €8,000.
3. Ten acres of land
The €13 billion payment has the potential (on paper) to buy every farmer in Ireland just under 10ac of land.
The latest land price survey from Sherry Fitzgerald shows that average price of farm land in Ireland stood at €9,650/ac in the first six months of the year.
Given the above mentioned €93,000 flat rate payment, this is the equivalent of 9.6ac for every farmer in Ireland.
4. Reseed every hectare of Irish grassland 12 times
According to Teagasc, the cost of reseeding grassland varies from €300-750/ha.
At the lower end of the cost scale, the €13 billion payment would cover the cost of reseeding every hectare of the 3.56m hectares of Irish grassland 12 times.
While at the higher end, every hectare could be reseeded just under five times.
5. A lot of sheep fencing
The reference cost of sheep wire and one strand of barbed wire under the Department of Agriculture’s sheep fencing scheme is €5.34/m.
If the €13 billion was spent only on sheep fencing, it would pay for 1.5m miles of sheep fence. That’s enough wire and stakes to fence the circumference of earth 60 times!