Angry farmers dismiss SFA call to increase rates burden
A suggestion that farmers should be subjected to county council commercial rates has provoked an angry response from the farm organisations.
The Small Firms Association (SFA) claims the current rates system needs a complete re-vamp to relieve the pressure on a shrinking pool of urban businesses.
"Farming is a business like any other and at the moment and unlike many city-and-town- based retail operations, it's doing quite well," said SFA director Patricia Callan.
"Therefore it's only fair that farmers should also pay commercial rates and bear their fair share of infrastructure and service costs,"
However, the suggestion was dismissed by the ICMSA president John Comer as "utterly unproductive" and "without any connection to reality."
"If the SFA thinks the commercial rates system is wrong or inefficient, then they should advance arguments to change it or reform it -- not to extend it.
"Commercial rates are paid because of the increased commercial opportunities that come with proximity to centres of population.
"That idea is null and void when applied to a farm," said Mr Comer.