'Hitting farming will affect future growth'
FARMER Brian Reidy and his wife Caroline have worked hard to establish a herd of 100 dairy cows in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.
Caroline also works as a computer data engineer in a Sligo company Reed Recruitment. Between them they have a combined income of around €50,000 a year.
"If you count the property tax, a water charge, the reduction in the income levies -- it is going to be considerable when you add them all together.
"We are a little bit sheltered from it. It would be a lot different if we were a garda or a teacher.
"Agriculture is now being seen as the cornerstone of the economy and hitting the sector will directly affect future growth.
"The VAT increase will also affect the farm. I would imagine a number of area payments for farmers will come under pressure and if they do it is going to put a nail in the coffin for farming.
"I'm extremely worried about land-transfer taxes. If there are any changes to agricultural relief or stamp-duty exemptions it'll be disastrous.
"Schemes such as the early-retirement scheme for farmers don't cost the Exchequer a huge amount of money in general terms but the numbers of farmers under 35 has dropped to 7pc in 2007.
"I'm a little bit worried about the reduction in the minimum wage, as an employer something will have to be done to the social-welfare system to acknowledge the reduction to encourage people to get back into work.
"I fractured a bone in my leg last week. I had to wait six hours in A&E. If I'd a sick animal at home I can get someone out in 20 minutes to treat it."
Our picture by Noel Kennedy shows Brian and Caroline on their farm in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo