‘Overall farmers happy, but rise in stamp duty was a negative aspect’
DONAL Hurley (50) runs a small dairy farm where he lives with his four children in Bandon, Co Cork.
He is worried not enough is being done to tackle the effect Brexit will have on the agriculture sector in Ireland.
“With Brexit coming up we need to focus on infrastructure, we need to focus on beefing up what we have in hand,” he said.
Mr Hurley is also worried about our reliance on the UK, not only in terms of a market, but in terms of access to other markets in Europe.
“We are too reliant on their ports... we have to be prepared to go around them if we can’t go through them,” he said.
Reacting to the Budget, Mr Hurley said: “Overall we’re happy, I’m glad to see the help being given to SMEs.”
However, he said the farming community was concerned about the effect of the higher tax on land sales, which was introduced by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
“The rise in the stamp duty though, that’s a negative aspect,” he said.
Another area Mr Hurley had hoped to see addressed was the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Although there was an increase of €200, many farmers are saying that it does not go far enough.
“It’s a step in the right direction, that’s for sure,” he said.
The modernisation of Irish farming is a hot topic right now, with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) calling for €100m for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) in the Budget just gone, a move which Mr Hurley supported.
“The figures now need to be doubled, that’s for sure,” he said.
He has the help of one of his sons on the farm, while the other three children are all in college.
The expansion of the Irish presence in foreign markets is another area that he believes is an important issue, and hopes to see it tackled next year.
Mr Hurley also welcomed the introduction of a low-interest loan package.
Farmer Donal Hurley, from Bandon, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision