A farm safety scheme worth €5m announced last November is to open shortly after a delay on some technical points, Minister of State for Farm Safety Martin Heydon has said.

The scheme will allow a farmer to offset the cost of farm safety equipment against their tax bill.

Minister of State for Farm Safety Martin Heydon told the Irish Farmers Journal: “While the eligibility for the scheme commenced on 1 January this year, there has been a delay on some technical points to be agreed with the Revenue Commissioners.

“I am confident that these will be resolved soon to allow us to commence the issuing of the application forms for the scheme,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture has said it hopes to open the scheme shortly.

Finance bill

Accelerated capital allowances for farm safety equipment were introduced through a report stage amendment to the Finance Bill 2020 following a proposal from Minister Heydon.

This change to the capital allowance treatment of certain farm safety equipment and adaptive equipment for farmers with disabilities places an emphasis on preventative farm safety measures, as well as supporting those who have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of incidents on farms, the Department said.

The Minister added that the Agricultural Consultants Association will play a part in encouraging investment in farm safety measures and supporting those who need to make adaptions following serious injury.

Farmers who take part in the scheme will be able to offset 50% of the cost of the equipment in year one and 50% in year two against their tax bill.

There are a range of measures farmers can avail of under the scheme, including anti-backing gates for cattle, chemical storage cabinets, tractor jacking systems and wheelchair restraints.