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Change in ‘active farmer’ clause is sought by FG TD

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Dr Orla Smithwick, Oranmore and Colette Fahy, Headford, at the McGaugh's Garden Centre workshop on winter planting last weekend. PHOTO: STAN SHIELDS.

UNDER the current regulations, it would be the ultimate nightmare for a young part-time farmer to inherit the land from their parents, according to an East Galway TD.

The vast majority of farmers in County Galway are operating on a part-time basis and this impacts on the inheritance tax they pay. In order to qualify for the maximum rate of tax relief, a young farmer has to spend more than 50% of his time operating the holding, according to Deputy Paul Connaughton.

This rule comes into effect at the beginning of next year but now efforts are being made to have this rule amended. At the moment a parent can sign over the land to their son or daughter and they in turn will qualify for the full tax reliefs.

But following the recent Budget, this will now only apply if they ‘actively farm at least 50% of their time on the land’.

According to Deputy Connaughton there are more part-time farmers in County Galway than there are full-time.“It goes without saying that it is very difficult to make a liveable wage being a full time farmer which is why an off-farm income is vital for survival.

“But under the new rules, a farmer has to spend more than 50% of their time on the land before they qualify for the full tax reliefs. For some, this is an impossible ask,” Deputy Connaughton added.

He said that if this became law, many farmers would not be in a position to transfer their lands to their sons or daughters as it would be financially crippling.

Young part-time farmers are anxiously awaiting changes to the rules that were introduced in the budget. It is understood that Minister Michael Noonan is having another look at the conditions attached to land transfers.

“The Budget made great strides to get land into the hands of people who can commercially work such lands, particularly through long-term leasing.

“But if it becomes a reality, particularly in the west of Ireland where over 60% of all farmers are part-time, there will be large tracts of land that will not be transferred as it would financially ruin small farmers,”  the Fine Gael TD said.

Deputy Connaughton has been in touch with the Finance Minister in the hope of changes being made to land transfer rules.

Connacht Tribune

BPS cash being paid to farmers this week

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Anne Mitchell: TB costs need to be looked at.
Anne Mitchell: Payments cannot be held up.

THOUSANDS of farmers across the West of Ireland should have received 70% of their Basic Payment (BPS) this week, the Dept. of Agriculture has confirmed to the IFA.

The payments were scheduled from Monday morning last (October 18), although it may take up to three days before the money ‘arrives’ into farmers’ bank accounts.

Over 129,000 farmers across the country are eligible for the payments with the IFA urging the Dept. of Agriculture to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ due to inspection issues.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, told the Farming Tribune that given the critical importance of the Basic Payment, it was vital that no farmer be left behind.

“In terms of cashflow and income, this is the most vital payment of the year for farmers. It is crucial for their financial survival and the last thing we want is for any payments to be held up.

“It is absolutely vital that there be no delay with this payment and where there are uncompleted inspections cases, we want to ensure that this isn’t a cause of any delay in these farmers getting their money,” said Anne Mitchell.

IFA Deputy President, Brian Rushe, said that with nearly 130,000 farmers from all over the For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

South Galway flood relief project won’t begin until late 2023 at the earliest

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Cllr Joe Byrne at Newtown in Gort where flood levels regularly rise by 15 feet over the winter months.

IT will be at least another two years before there is any prospect of machinery moving in to begin vital flood alleviation works in South Galway – a problem that has impacted on hundreds of acres of land.

More than 25 years after the area was described as a disaster zone following floods that resulted in homes having to be evacuated and animals rescued by boats, the situation is still critical, according to local representatives.

And it has been revealed this week that there is no prospect of any flood relief measures taking place in the Tarmon and Kiltiernan areas, amongst others, near Gort within the next couple of years.

Various reports that were due to be published last year – while public consultations were also planned but Covid has been blamed for these not materialising.

It now hoped that these reports will be available in the latter half of 2022 and that a final design will then be made, but works will not commence until late 2023 at the earliest.

Even if flood relief works do start, which ultimately will result in rising waters being released out to sea, they will take a number of years to complete.

Local public representative and engineer Cllr. Joe Byrne (FG) said that the farmers and residents of South Galway are still at risk of flooding for at least four, if not five years.

Few in the area will ever forget the scenes of boats being deployed to rescue local residents, their belongings and farm animals, when the flooding situation reached crisis point back in the mid-1990s.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Smiles . . . but little else for farmers

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Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, before their presentation of Budget 2022 to the Dáil.

FARM leaders have described this week’s Budget 2022 as ‘underwhelming and disappointing’ for the Irish agricultural sector – with nothing new of any substance in the financial plan for the coming year.

The rollover of the different agricultural schemes – annually worth in the region of €600m – has been one of the few aspects of Budget 2022 that has been welcoming by the farming sector.

An overall budget allocation of almost €1.86 billion has been set aside for the Dept. of Agriculture next year in addition to almost €1.2 billion of EU direct-payment funding.

The farming sector had sought to have a percentage of the carbon tax allocated for the setting up of a new REPS II type environmental scheme – however, this hasn’t happened.

Chair of the IFA’s National Farm Business Committee, Rose Mary McDonagh, told the Farming Tribune that there was really nothing of any significance in the budget for the farming commuity.

“There was a commitment in the Programme for Government that a percentage of the carbon tax would be allocated for the establishment of a new REPS II type scheme but unfortunately this hasn’t happened.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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