Monday 22 October 2018

Theresa Murphy

Theresa Murphy is a barrister at law based in Galway. Email:

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Rights of way can be controversial

Know your rights: How to establish a right of way 

Q I am writing to you on behalf of an elderly friend of mine regarding rights of way. There are three different right of ways going through an adjoining sports facility, one of which travels on through another farmer's yard. The right of ways are marked on the maps. As my friend is getting older he is anxious to register these rights of way as soon as possible in case anything might happen to him and his sons/heirs might have difficulty establishing the rights of way. We would appreciate some advice as how to proceed.

Pic: Stock image

'We are scraping by on a small farm income. What can we do?' 

Q My wife and I have been farming since we got married almost 10 years ago. We have three young children and at present we are scraping by on the small income the farm is making. We are facing the reality that it is not practical for my wife to return to work off-farm as the childcare costs would wipe out any income she would make. I keep hearing about the economy improving but we are finding the reality is very different, waiting for the Basic Payment Scheme cheque to meet our debts and bills. What can we do?

'Recreational users' are treated in the same manner as trespassers

Advice: Can trespassers sue farmers if they get injured on their land? 

Q. I am one of a number of farmers sharing grazing rights on a commonage in the east of the country. Being in a scenic area with easy access to the public this commonage is increasingly being used for recreational and hunting purposes by neighbouring residents and other persons unknown for such uses as hill walking, mountain biking, dog walking, scrambling and hunting with some of these activities happening during hours of darkness. What are the responsibilities of the commonage shareholders to these recreational users?

There are currently less supports available for young farmers starting out

I am young and landless - what are my Basic Payment options? 

Q - I am a young trained farmer who completed a level 6 course a few years ago. I would like to start farming but I will not be able to take over the home farm yet as my father is still actively farming and is planning on continuing farming for the next few years. The only option open to me right now is to lease a farm and start farming in my own right. As the margins in the suckler to beef enterprise are very low, I am wondering what supports are available under the Basic Payment Scheme and other schemes for young trained farmers?

The number of drivers being stopped while towing trailers is increasing

Am I insured to pull a trailer if I don't have a trailer licence? 

Q: I have been driving a jeep for many years both for my personal use and also for towing a cattle trailer to and from the mart, and also around the farm. I have heard recently of farmers being stopped by gardaí while towing trailers as they did not hold the correct licence. I am worried that I will potentially have to face into another driving test and whether or not my insurance will cover me in the case of an accident if I do not have the correct licence.

For both the dairy farmer and the replacement rearer the biggest question is cost

The nitty gritty of contract rearing 

Q I am a young trained farmer and have always wanted to set up my own dairy farm. I am planning to take over our family farm but in order to make it a viable business I will need to milk more cows than the farm can currently house. I can't borrow any more money for building a shed but I am interested in the possibility of having replacements reared off farm to allow me increase my numbers quicker and milk more cows. What are the issues I need to consider in relation to the contract rearing?

There are many factors to consider when making a will

Trust can resolve inheritance issues 

Q: My wife and I are in our 80s and grateful to have a large and close family. We have recently decided to make our wills and have come up against the issue of how to leave the farm to the next generation. Our grandson uses the land and sheds for his stock. However, we have a number of grandchildren and are conscious that everyone should get a share. We do not want to leave him with no land or see the farm immediately sold. Also, if we leave the land to one grandchild how can we be sure the farm will not be sold if his relationship splits up?

Substantial grants are available from the TAMS scheme for farms buildings such as slatted houses.

The lowdown on TAMS II 

Q. I am a young trained farmer, leasing a farm for the first time. I hope to take advantage of the funding available under TAMS. However, I have heard that I will need to have planning permission in place before I can even make my application. Is this the case and if so, what regulations apply to planning permission applications? I would like to build a new cubicle shed and also upgrade the slurry storage facilities on the farm. I am not in a farm partnership, but I have heard that they can access bigger grants, is that the case? Finally, what costs are involved in the process?