Letter to the editor: ‘Women like me are modern-day slaves; it’s shocking’

It was great to read your report [published on Saturday, February 29] on women in agri-business networks.

The title of the article – ‘Poor recognition for farm team effort translates to board level’ – was of great interest to me.

Also Read: ‘Poor recognition for farm team effort translates to board level’

I have been saying this and living this for all of my farming life; I can share the liabilities but not the assets.

In my own situation, my bank added my name to the deeds. This suited their needs for as much security as possible. However, I had no ‘income’. Now I am responsible for repaying our outstanding loans – still with no income.

My husband transferred our milk cheque, SFP [single farm payment] and livestock sales cheques – marital assets – to a third party, without my knowledge or consent, simply because he could do so.

The herd number is in his name. He can do what he wishes with ‘his’ money.

All my married life…

I have spent all my married life in the farmyard alongside him. All the while, our accounts were in joint names and, so, jointly submitted to the Revenue Commissioners. Then he left me. He left me with nothing, when we were both in our early 60s.

I’m not into expensive things. I do not drink, smoke, gamble, go on holidays or buy expensive clothes, but I do need to live.

At least I will get the State Pension [Contributory] when I reach retirement age, sanctioned by the Department of Social Protection – ironically recognising my contribution on our farm and the enterprises that we developed.

I feel duped, misled, deceived and abandoned – to say the least. My advice for women is to watch out for the herd number…and who it belongs to.

Meanwhile, women like me are modern-day slaves. This is 2020. It’s shocking.

From a reader in Leinster; the writer wishes to remain anonymous