SPAs: once valu­able as­sets can’t be sold or devel­oped

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Stephen Cado­gan

An SPA-des­ig­nated landowner can­not meet her health care needs be­cause her de­val­ued farm has been on the mar­ket since 2012. Des­ig­nated land is typ­i­cally worth only €800-1,200 per acre, com­pared to up to € 5,500 for land suit­able for forestry, out­side des­ig­nated ar­eas. Mor ris Flynn of the Irish F a r m e r s w i th D e s ig n a te d Land ( IFDL) told the Joint O i r e a c h t a s C o mm i t t e e o n A g r i c u l t u re , F o o d a nd t he Marine the woman in her 70s from the UK came to Ire­land and pur­chased about 30 acres ad­ja­cent to Mr Flynn’s land, where she lived for a while be­fore re­turn­ing to the UK and rent­ing out the prop­erty. “In 2012, she re­turned to Ire­land to sell her prop­erty be­cause she has se­ri­ous health is­sues.

“When she re­turned to Ire­land and learned that the land had been des­ig­nated while she was away, the bot­tom fell out of her world. She has re­ceived noth­ing for that land.” “She found out that I have been in­volved in the cam­paign on this is­sue for many years, and she ap­peared at my door in tears, be­cause she needs money to meet her health care needs in the UK to the end of her days. It is soul de­stroy­ing and un­ac­cept­able that any­body should have to do that. “The car­pet was pulled out from un­der our feet. We were cod­ded, and the man­ner in which we have been treated is de­plorable.”

J a s o n F i t z g e r a l d o f the IFDL said most farm­ers have been dis­ad­van­taged or dev­as­tated by land de­val­u­a­tion. “Their plans for the fu­ture, their plans for re­tire­ment and the hope of go­ing into a bank with some­thing tan­gi­ble in their hand are gone. “Th­ese farm­ers are no longer able to bor­row against the deeds of their land be­cause bank man­agers see no value or op­por­tu­nity in ma­ture des­ig­nated ar­eas.”

“F a r m e r s m i gh t wa n t to in­vest in their busi­ness, or a med­i­cal emer­gency may oc­cur, and they may need to s e l l a s i t e . A d e a t h in t h e f am il y m ay ch an ge e ve r y - thing. A farm that was once a valu­able as­set held with pride and care is now an as­set that can be nei­ther sold nor devel­oped to take ad­van­tage of the eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties that are avail­able to neigh­bours.” Cork Nor th West Fianna Fail TD Michael Moyni­han told the com­mit­tee when land is for sale to which a hen harr i e r d e s i gn a t i o n a t t a c h e s , there are no bids, and no one will touch it with a barge pole be­cause noth­ing can be done with it. He re­ferred to a 120acre prop­erty for which there was not even one bid over the past year, be­cause so much of it is hen har­rier des­ig­nated.

Ja­son Fitzger­ald, IFDL: land de­val­u­a­tion has dis­ad­van­taged or dev­as­tated SPA farm­ers.

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