Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

‘The minister swatted my complaint away like a fly’ - Dairy farmer on stamp duty 'bombshell'

Dairy farmer Lorcan McCabe, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, budget case study. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Dairy farmer Lorcan McCabe, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, budget case study. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Claire Fox

A DAIRY farmer has described the new stamp duty rate as a “bombshell” that is taxing farmers’ ambitions and is a massive blow.

Lorcan McCabe (53) rang the ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’ show on RTÉ Radio One to express his annoyance at the Budget move that increases the commercial stamp duty rate that applies to agricultural land from 2pc to 6pc.

Mr McCabe, from Bailieborough, Co Cavan, told the Irish Independent he rang in to address the 6pc stamp duty rate with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who was appearing on the show. He said it was a blow to farmers, but he felt Mr Donohoe “brushed him off”.

“I was brushed off by him and swatted away like a fly.

“I felt the minister cut me off on the Sean O’Rourke show and focused on the relief for young farmers, but that’s not new, it was there last year and is only being rolled over.

“For small and medium-sized farmers, it lands us another blow. It hurts the farmer who is at the end of their tether with regards ability.

“It’s a major bombshell for me if I wanted to expand my farm. It means that a developer can buy land and they’ll be able to make that stamp duty back when they develop that land,” he added.

Read also: Backlash over stamp duty on sale of farms: Vast majority of farms will be hit with 6pc tax

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While young farmers are exempt from the new increase, he said farmers over the age of 36 will be “limited” by the new tax regime.

“Once you’re 36, you’re not a young farmer anymore. It doesn’t matter how trained or good you are. The availability of land only comes once in a lifetime.

“When you lose out on land it’s not like a house or a tractor, you can’t buy another one next year.”

Mr McCabe hopes for a U-turn and will remember the “debacle” at the next general election.

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