A bill that would protect farmland from being sold by creditors against the will of the landowner was launched in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday.

The Impaired Farm Credit Bill 2022, sponsored by the Rural Independent Group, received its first reading in the Dáil on Tuesday afternoon.

Following that, the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, who was the principal author of the draft legislation, presented an opinion on the bill in Leinster House.

Honohan explained that similar protections exist in the US and in the UK since 2019.

“An examinership would have to include a cram-down (a negotiated settlement including reduced payments to creditors) for both ordinary and secured creditors,” he explained.

He highlighted the former example of ACC bank which “always gave the farmer time, who came to a settlement.”

Commenting on claims that people whose loans sold to unregulated so-called vulture-funds have the same rights as before, Honohan said “pull the other one”.

The six Rural Independent group TDs – Mattie McGrath, Michael and Danny Healy Rae, Carol Nolan, Richard O’Donoghue and Michael Collins, are looking for support for the bill from other independents, from Sinn Féin, and from backbench Government TDs in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.