Deputy Charlie McConalogue says a number of measures contained in the Finance Bill will have a detrimental impact on farmers in the county.
He claims he Bill must be amended to reflect the changing face of Irish farming, or risk destroying viable businesses.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The clause in the Finance Bill on agricultural relief is not only unrealistic and unworkable, it will act as a major deterrent for the new generation of farmers. Many young farmers in Donegal have to seek work outside of their farms to make ends meet. Government inaction on the beef crisis, which has seen prices plummet over the past year, has added to the financial burden on many farm families, forcing them to take on other jobs where possible to ensure a future for themselves.
“If this Bill is not amended, hundreds of part-time farmers in Donegal will be excluded from the reduced stamp duty rates. This could see many younger farmers losing out because they are hit with the high tax rates associated with taking on the farms from their parents or other relatives. The Finance Bill requires active farmers to spend more than 50% of their working time on their farms, however the changing farming landscape has made it a necessity for many farmers to also have an off-farm job to generate a sustainable income.”
He added that the Bill should discriminate against farmers who have been forced to take outside work to make ends meet.
“It is extremely important that the Finance Bill does not discriminate against genuine part-time farmers, who because of the Government’s failure to invest in agriculture and support farming communities, are forced to take on outside work to make a living.
“Fianna Fáil will be tabling an amendment to the Bill, which will protect genuine part-time farmers from excessive stamp duty payments”.