Kenny Jones from Kielduff, a beef and dairy farmer, has been elected as Kerry IFA chair.

Jones said he looked forward to representing farmers in Kerry on the national council.

“I have been a member of IFA for 30 years and have held various positions during this time, most recently as the second Kerry delegate on the national council. I am well aware of the issues and challenges facing farmers. I will bring this experience to my new role and I look forward to working with the president and other national council members,” he said.

He acknowledged the contribution of his predecessor Pat O’Driscoll and pledged to carry on his work.

“CAP reform is the most serious issue on the agenda at the moment. Decisions taken in the next month and beyond will shape farming in Ireland for the next decade. Other important issues that will impact farmers are Brexit, the upcoming Agri-Food Strategy, Mercosur and the Climate Bill. Locally, the new REPS and Greenway proposals are issues that farmers will be very engaged with – the problem of dog attacks is also one that needs to be urgently addressed by Government.

“With all of these issues and more facing farmers, it is more important than ever that we have strong representation. I am committed to playing my part to ensure that the farmers of Kerry have their voices heard and input into national policy.”

Farmland is integral to viability of farm families

An IFA delegation recently met with the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and the Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne to discuss the ongoing reform of the Personal Insolvency Act.

IFA farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh welcomed the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill, as it removes the requirement for debt to have originated prior to 2015 in order to be considered relevant debt under the Personal Insolvency Act.

The Bill was debated in the Seanad last week and it is expected to be implemented without delay. Minister McEntee outlined that the general scheme of a more comprehensive amendment bill will be introduced towards the end of this year.

IFA conveyed to the minister that debt secured by farmland should be considered relevant debt under personal insolvency legislation. McDonagh said that farmland is intrinsically linked to farm family homes.

“Farmland is more fixed than typical business assets. The so-called vulture funds seek to immediately sell land belonging to farmers in arrears, which would have a devastating impact on a farm’s potential to generate revenue.”

McDonagh said that Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs) are a welcome aid for farmers in financial distress. PIAs are another option and will offer a solution to some farmers in arrears. The legislation is playing a vital role in rebalancing the relationship between borrowers and the so-called vulture funds.

McDonagh concluded by saying that IFA will work with the minister and her department to explore whether a distinction can be made for farmland in the legislation.