Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 21 October 2017

We want prenups, say farmers amid fear over land ownership

Most gun owners would use weapon to defend themselves

Respondents to our survey were strongly in favour of not selling their farms. Overall, 84pc said they would not consider selling their farm, while just 16pc said they would consider it. (Stock picture)
Respondents to our survey were strongly in favour of not selling their farms. Overall, 84pc said they would not consider selling their farm, while just 16pc said they would consider it. (Stock picture)

Margaret Donnelly, Ciaran Moran and John Downing

Farmers have demonstrated an overwhelming support of prenuptial agreements, with 72pc saying they should have a legal standing in Ireland.

Concern over the possible fallout on land ownership following marriage breakdown continues to worry those in the farming community.

A previous plan to introduce prenups was quietly dropped by the Government last year, citing legal problems.

But respondents to the FarmIreland.ie survey showed overwhelming support of prenups, with 72pc saying they should have a legal standing here. Just 15pc said they should not have legal standing, and 13pc were unsure.

Currently, prenuptial agreements do not have a legal standing in Ireland, but common law gives strong rights to couples who have lived together.

Any couples that have lived together for five years have substantial family law rights.

The FarmIreland.ie survey of 1,000 farmers provides a fascinating snapshot of rural life in Ireland amid concerns about the next generation, Brexit and crime.

Respondents to our survey were strongly in favour of not selling their farms. Overall, 84pc said they would not consider selling their farm, while just 16pc said they would consider it.

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However, almost half (47pc) of farmers would not encourage their children to take up farming as a career, the survey shows. Dairy farmers were significantly more positive than others about their children becoming farmers - a possible reflection on the viability of different farming enterprises.

Read More: Premarital agreement can be an act of love, mapping out a safe exit strategy for both sides

Meanwhile, 72pc of farmers with guns would use them to defend themselves and their property if they had to, the exclusive FarmIreland.ie survey has revealed.

While 91pc say they feel safe in their home, 63pc said they would try to defend themselves before calling gardaí, and of the 40pc who keep a gun in their house, 72pc said they would use it to defend themselves.

Recent figures show that two-thirds of farmers have been the victims of crime and the survey reveals that farmers in the west and north-west are more likely to not feel safe in their own home than those in the rest of the country.

Older farmers are more likely to feel unsafe, the survey found, with 18pc of those over 65 saying they don't feel safe in their home. In contrast, just 1pc of those aged 18-34 years said they felt unsafe.

For a sector which has always paid for water, there is unsurprisingly strong support for everyone paying water charges.

The vast majority of farmers - 78pc - said everyone should pay for water charges. There was no significant difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voters in their attitude.

Read More: Young generation's seeds of doubt could hamper the growth of our vital industry

This reflects the fact that most farmers have directly or indirectly been paying for water for years.

Sentiment around water charges was very strong. "We're paying all our lives. It's like putting petrol in a car," said one farmer.

Fine Gael remains the first political choice for the largest number of farmers, with one in three saying they will vote for it in the next election.

This compares with one in four supporting Fianna Fáil and very small proportions for all other parties and groups.

But a strong 22pc of farmers are undecided as to who they would support next time.

The traditional engagement with politics remains strong with only 8pc saying they would not vote at all.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed gets a strong popularity rating. Some 71pc of respondents give him a mark of at least five out of 10.

The survey also asked interviewees whether they go to Mass or church every week, and 60pc of respondents said they did. However, there is a stark contrast between different age groups, with 55pc of 18-34-year-olds saying they do not go every week, compared with 81pc of those over 65 who do.

Irish Independent





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