Trade focus: ’50kph tractors should be illegal’

The relationship between agriculture and the construction industry has always been close in Ireland. Many firms operate within the both sectors – finding them a natural fit.

This is certainly the case with Finnerty Machinery Sales of Gurteen, Co. Galway, which has always kept a foot in both camps and is now happily dealing in plant and machinery for each.

The company was founded by Michael Finnerty in 1973 – mainly as a plant hire and contracting business – but with the construction industry still suffering in the west the emphasis nowadays is as much on tractors as it is plant.


Dealing in second-hand equipment is at the heart of the business. It holds no major franchises, but prefers to serve the demand from farmers for budget-friendly machines that will not break the bank.


There are a good many reasons for customers looking for a used machine. These range from single-application tasks, such as being permanently attached to a diet feeder, to providing an on-site tractor at a distant holding.

“The greatest demand is for tractors between 80 and 140hp,” noted Michael, adding: “We work on all makes and sizes of tractor; we favour no make above another.”

The business also provides nationwide coverage.

‘Stick to what’s affordable’

Michael remains unimpressed by talk of diesel engines being replaced by other power sources. “Most of the farmers around here are stock farmers, running beef or suckler herds. There is no money in either, so they will stick to what they know and is affordable.”


Another area where Michael has strong views concerns the issue of safety on roads.

He said:

50kph tractors should be illegal.

It’s an argument that might not find favour everywhere – but he supports his contention by noting that the braking effort required to slow a tractor and trailer on a hill is often not readily available to a driver.

“A 50kph tractor may be nudging 60kph on a slope and, at that speed, the trailer can take over and push the tractor around.” He illustrated his point further by comparing the situation to a slalom skier fighting to keep on course.

He firmly believes that the problem is exacerbated by “having young lads working 17-hour days for €70”.

He added: “A married man wouldn’t do that; he wants to get home to see his family.”

Tractor ‘NCT’

He is also a strong supporter of ‘NCTs’ for faster tractors and compares the approach to safety in agriculture unfavourably with the attitude found in the construction industry, where “union rates and safety” prevail.

Of the regular supply of tractors coming through the gate, many make suitable candidates for refurbishment. With a fully-equipped workshop available, this has become an important part of the operation.


When AgriLand visited, the yard in the midst of a winter storm; there were plenty of ‘classics’ all lined up for sale which more than compensated for the sleet and rain.

We’ve already featured the Deutz-Fahr DX 4.70 that’s currently in the yard.


That tractor really caught our eye, but there were plenty of others worthy of a second look too.

Also Read: Classic corner: Straight lines and sharp angles adorn this gleaming ‘DX’

Michael Finnerty is another dealer of the opinion that there is still a strong market for simple tractors; they don’t get much simpler than two of the Massey Fergusons he had ready for sale.

Both the 575 and the 135 – the two of which were in stock during our visit – were free from any clutter that might prematurely age them.


They also sounded as bright and perky as the day they rolled off the line. With parts likely to be available for many years hence, they still have a good long working life ahead of them.


Another machine (in the yard) worthy of note was an International 856; this (pictured below) is the German-made model – not to be confused with the International 885 from Doncaster, which was produced concurrently.


Both offered 85hp, but Michael believes the Neuss-built machine to be the better tractor. One of its greatest assets is the smooth-running and very quiet engine; this example purred with scarcely a hint of a rattle or knock to disturb the peace.


Should you happen to be looking for a tractor for ‘work or play’, then Finnerty Tractor Sales might just be worth a visit.


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