Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Gowing seeks action on Installation cases

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The needs of young farmers affected by the closure of Installation Aid (IA) must be addressed in the upcoming budget as a matter of urgency, Macra Na Feirme has insisted.

Macra president Michael Gowing pointed out that some farmers who were excluded from the scheme when it closed in October 2008 are approaching critical deadlines set out in their applications.

Mr Gowing was speaking following a meeting last week with Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith to discuss the budget.

"Minister Smith reiterated his intention to look at the issue of hardship cases arising out of the closure of Installation Aid, but time has moved on," Mr Gowing said.

"The minister has dealt with the hardship cases associated with the closure of the Early Retirement Scheme, and rightly so.

"Installation Aid applicants now need to be taken care of as a matter of urgency as some are falling foul of the legal requirements of the scheme," he added.

Applicants have 18 months to meet with the full requirements of the scheme once they lodge their initial applications.

Retention of agricultural transfer tax reliefs for young, trained farmers, including Stamp Duty Relief and Agricultural Relief, remained vital for the ongoing restructuring, the Macra delegation claimed.

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"Fundamental to the future success of the primary agricultural sector is the renewal of generations of farmers, and we need to continually assist our young primary producers by breaking down the barriers to farm entry," Mr Gowing added.

Macra has also sought the extension of 100pc Young Farmer Stock Relief, which is up for renewal this December.

Macra has proposed the extension of the relief in line with the duration of Food Harvest 2020 to help meet its aims and objectives in terms of expansion of the different sectors.

A further proposal from the farmer body was the introduction of a Young Farmer Land Restructuring Relief.

Modelled on a similar basis to Stamp Duty Relief, the measure would be aimed at addressing land fragmentation and supporting the consolidation of holdings.

Irish Independent