Many farmers fear farmland ‘could be bought out from under them’

Farmers across many counties are continuing to operate under the constant threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), according to Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Rural Development chairman Seamus Sherlock.

“Right around the country, non-essential infrastructure projects are being discussed at length above the heads of landowners – leaving many in fear that sections of their farms could be bought out from under them.

“ICSA has long held the position that any projects intending to use private farmland in any way should involve proper consultation with landowners from the outset.”

However, in practice this is rarely the case and speculation of CPOs usually comes first, Sherlock said.

“We need to see a process of careful consultation and dialogue in advance of any project getting the green light around a boardroom table.

Many family farms are built up over generations of hard work and their future viability may be at risk if part of the farm is removed from agricultural use.

“CPOs generate immense fear in rural communities and rarely engender goodwill, certainly not the goodwill necessary for projects to be successful locally.

“ICSA is in favour of development in rural Ireland – but, not at any cost. We will stand firmly with our members who believe they are under threat of CPOs and feel they have no option but to agree to them,” Sherlock concluded.