Minister must ensure all farmers are excluded from site levy

Farming reporter

Reporter:

Farming reporter

IFA President Joe Healy

IFA President Joe Healy

Ahead of a meeting between the Department of Housing and local authorities on the implementation of the Vacant Site Levy this week, IFA President Joe Healy has reiterated his call on Minister John Paul Phelan to issue a revised circular to clarify that farmland should not be deemed ‘vacant’. 

The IFA President said it is very important that any ambiguity is removed and the meeting provides clarity to all local authorities that farmland should not be subject to the vacant site levy. He said land being used for agricultural purposes is neither ‘vacant’ nor ‘idle’ and to impose a levy on it would be completely unacceptable.

Mr Healy noted that Kilkenny County Council has today informed a number of farmers who were appealing the decision to include their land on the county’s vacant site register that their land will be removed from the register, following legal opinion sought by the Council.

Kilkenny County Chairperson, James Murphy, said the decision by Kilkenny County Council to remove farmland from the register is welcome and will be a huge relief to affected farmers who were very concerned about the high levy they could be unfairly subject to. He said the farmers can now withdraw their appeals and get on with their business.