‘Bloodstock industry is taking the lifeblood out of rural communties’

The bloodstock industry is taking the lifeblood out of rural communities and it cannot be supported, Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said.

Speaking in the Dail yesterday, the Tipperary TD said that he has many issues with what is happening in the horse racing industry.

“Conglomerates such as the one in my area have done great work and are recognised all over the world for their prowess in the racing industry.”

However, McGrath questioned why they need Government support and the generous tax regime Charlie Haughey introduced in his day to stimulate the industry when they can buy up every parcel of land that comes up for sale in Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Kilkenny, Kildare and beyond?

They are not leaving a living for anybody else. We cannot support an industry that takes the lifeblood out of our communities, which is what is happening in the bloodstock industry.

“The same is happening in other parts of the country. I have called for legislation in this regard.

“The Minister of State spoke about legislation due next year. I ask him to consider this issue in the legislation. He has failed to do so in the Finance Act or in any other legislation.”

McGrath highlighted the fact that Ireland does not have a land league.

“We do not have anybody to protect ordinary small farmers who want to extend their farms to survive and to keep up with quotas, costs and the necessary investment.

“They can no longer buy a cottage acre; they now resort to buying the cottages with the acres. They want a landscape free of anybody else. Nobody is allowed to live or support anything else,” he said.

Earlier this year, McGrath labelled the issue of stud farms in Ireland’s horse industry buying up large amounts of land in parts of the country as “downright madness”.

McGrath said that he had sought for the introduction of a land tax in his pre-Budget submission, for large conglomerates who purchase and hold land banks of over 750ac.

He said that such conglomerates, some of which are in his own area of Tipperary, need to “be reined in”.

While McGrath said that we have a world-renowned and world-class equine industry, they’re buying every little hamlet, every little perch and any bit of land at all that comes up.

“There are other horse industries in other parts of the country who are doing the same thing.

“It’s immoral, it’s wrong, it’s downright madness and very damaging to rural Ireland.

“We won’t have a football team, a school, a community, nothing, if one, two or three people buy up all our land.”