Brexit was always going to be the over-riding context for Budget 2020 according to the IFA presidential candidate Angus Woods. He also noted that the proposed €1.2bn package will not be enough if the UK leaves without a deal.

“Minister Donohoe has provided a Brexit protection package of €1.2bn to shield the Irish economy from the potentially disastrous consequences of a no-deal Brexit, with €200m to be spent next year. However, within this overall package, €650m has been allocated to enterprise, agriculture and tourism, with just €110m allocated to the Department of Agriculture for next year,” he said.

He continued to express concern about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for Irish farmers and said that the funding allocations should be revisited, to ensure the most “Brexit-vulnerable sectors of the Irish economy, and farming in particular, are protected".

It is unacceptable that farmland is being lumped in with a stamp duty measure

Woods acknowledged that the €40m to targeted schemes including the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) was important and he welcomes the announcement. However, he said that the highly restrictive conditions effectively prevent farmers from accessing funds, undermines the credibility of the scheme.

In relation to the increase in stamp duty on farm land he said: “It is unacceptable that farmland is being lumped in with a stamp duty measure designed to target mostly foreign-owned commercial real estate funds who are making hay in an over-heating Dublin-centric real estate market.

“Farmland is the fundamental requirement for farming and food production. It is not a market speculation device and should not be treated as such.

"The rate of duty on transactions involving farmland, particularly for consolidation and expansion by farmers, should be reduced rather than increased,” he said.

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