A precedent has been set for farmers facing difficulties in making repayments on loans secured after a High Court decision on Monday found in favour of a farmer’s request to restructure his borrowing repayments rather than having his farm sold.

In the “landmark” case, a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) was sought on behalf of the farmer and upheld by the court, which will see him repaying a loan at a lower interest rate and over a longer period of time.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) welcomed the decision, saying that farmers in “unsustainable debt situation[s] now have options available”.

The personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) that sought this restructuring on behalf of the farmer, Gary Digney of FPM accountancy, spoke to the Irish Farmers Journal and urged farmers faced with receivership to seek financial advice.

‘Full protection’

“The farmer contacted me and I obtained an emergency protective certificate on his behalf. The protective certificate gave him full protection and the land could not be sold whilst I constructed a PIA proposal to put to his creditors,” Digney stated.

“On Monday, the High Court dismissed the creditor’s appeal – this is now the end of the matter. The PIA is fully approved and the debt is fully restructured, with the farmer keeping his whole farm.

“I was delighted with the outcome of this landmark High Court case, the first contested farming PIA case to be heard in the High Court.

“The PIA allows the farmer to retain the lands and move on with his life without the threat of a sale. In my view, farmers should not have to sell their necessary farm land if there is a viable and affordable solution, such as a PIA.”

Digney commented that it is advisable for any farmer struggling with repayments to contact a PIP to discuss their options, adding that the process guarantees engagement.