Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 July 2018

IFA look to kick-start rural town business heading

IFA president Eddie Downey
IFA president Eddie Downey
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A RAFT of measures designed to incentivise business in rural towns are to be included in the IFA's budget submission.

IFA president, Eddie Downey said that the organisation "had to take a stand on the donut effect" that was hollowing out communities such as his own local town of Drogheda.

"Everybody is commenting on it, and we decided that we couldn't stand idly by any longer," he said, responding to questions as to whether the IFA was going beyond its remit to help farm families.

"It's absolutely vital that there are vibrant towns and services maintained in rural Ireland so that farm families can continue living there, and that they are attractive places to live," he said.

While Mr Downey admitted that the cost of the measures has not been worked out, he insisted it would not be "huge". He also stressed the importance of getting broadband to every area as a way of ensuring that really good jobs can be kept in rural Ireland.

Among the measures, the IFA want double rent-relief for people that take on retail units in rural towns, three to five year exemption from rates, Capital Gains Tax relief on the resale of businesses, and a 10pc tax credit up to a maximum of €2,000 annually for micro businesses employing less than 10 people.

"CSO figures show contrasting unemployment rates across the country, from 9pc in Dublin to 12pc and 13pc in the west, midlands and southeast regions," said Mr Downey.

"We can't have a two-tier recovery, so the Government needs to introduce more targeted measures to ensure the economic recovery is better balanced. Investment in rural enterprises outside of the main urban areas must be a strategic focus of Government.

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"We feel very comfortable campaigning on these issues because of the scope of our 88,000 membership, and we are going to make this an election issue," he said.

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