Any farmer who wishes to continue farming should be left alone to do so and should be given an automatic right to de-zone from the Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT), the president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Dermot Kelleher has said.

He has called on the Government to use the deferral of the tax announced in Budget 2024 to sort out the mess it has created, whereby farmers are potentially being evicted from land they are farming.

“No farmer can afford to pay a 3% annual tax on an artificially inflated land value when all they want is to be left alone to farm.

“There are plenty of derelict sites, unused and underutilised properties in all cities and towns, as well as land held by developers and other speculators without forcing farmers off the land that they are farming,” he said.


The reality is that many who tried to get de-zoned were turned down, according to Kelleher.

“In fact, we have evidence that a standard letter of rejection is being sent almost as a matter of course to every applicant for de-zoning. This is not good enough.

“Someone who has been farming a piece of land and who wishes to continue to do so should be entitled to do so.

"In many cases, being forced to sell the zoned land will make the rest of the farm unviable,” he said.

No respect

“Unfortunately, this is another example of the Government showing no respect for land ownership and property rights. It fits into a worrying pattern of increased belligerence that farmers are not free to farm and that at a stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen, the farmer will be forced off the land.

“ICSA believes that this issue will ignite very soon if the Government doesn’t move to resolve it. The history of Irish people being forced off the land is an emotive one, and any Government would do well to keep that in mind,” he said.