Healy-Rae calls for young farmer stamp duty relief age to be raised

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has asked for the age limit to be increased from 35 to 40 to qualify for the young farmer stamp duty relief.

Speaking at the first public meeting of the Committee on Agriculture and the Marine this term, the Kerry TD told the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue that it has been a trend for the last number of years for “young fellows to go abroad to try other things and to be a bit late coming back”.

“Many of them now face a big cost in paying 7.5% stamp duty, which has increased,” the deputy said.

“A farm is a big expense and a big undertaking. As we all know, what one reaps from farming is very small so it will take a long time to accumulate even the cost of the stamp duty.”

In the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that it is his understanding that the new Fair Deal Scheme will be published in December. Deputy Healy-Rae said this was a “positive response”.

However, he added:

“I want us to consider not assessing the value of the land. It is very unfair to put that massive cost on someone’s payback in the Fair Deal Scheme.

“It would cost a massive amount to pay 7.5% per year for three years on a farm, and not a very big one, valued between €400,000 and €500,000 and on top of the value of any house.

“That should not be the case; there are company directors in way stronger financial situations yet all that is reckonable for the Fair Deal Scheme is the family home.

“It should be the same situation for farmers and I ask the minister to consider the matter.”

‘We must not penalise that situation’

The deputy said it is important to get young people on to the land “without imposing a savage burden on them”.

“We could be talking about a wife with a young family who may be only trying to get her children through college or whatever,” he continued.

Farming is physically onerous work and farmers get hurt. Farmers are under physical pressure from the weather and different things to get their work done sometimes to the detriment of their health.

“I have made the following plea before but I shall do so again: We must drop the need for assessing the value of a farm because it is the tool for work and we must not penalise that situation.”