A woman called the Joe Duffy Liveline radio programme this week claiming that she had been disinherited from her father’s will due to her gender.

While it was unclear as to whether Sheila’s case included farmland, her call sparked a debate surrounding the inheritance of farms.

Last Friday, Sheila received a call from her father, who is in his 90s, to talk about his will. He outlined his intentions to leave his possessions to Sheila’s son.

When asked if her father’s intentions were to write her out of his will she responded: “I think more than that he wants to give everything to the male.”

“I believe it’s to do with an Ireland of the 50s and something that is common in the world which is where the woman is the chattel. She’s there to pick up the slippers, not to inherit land or inherit money.”

She’s there to pick up the slippers, not to inherit land or inherit money

While Sheila described her father as a ‘product of his time’ other callers on the show suggested that she should accept her father’s decision as it is “up to the parents to do what they like with their property.”

A caller from a farming background said that land “takes generations to purchase” and that the “entitlement to it is a very serious question”. However, she did not answer Joe Duffy’s question asking whether she thought it was right that a person should be left out of their parent’s will purely on the basis of gender.

Farm went to the sons

The show returned to the issue on Tuesday with a call from a woman who was not given any share of her parent’s farm as it was passed on to her brothers.

Orla told Joe how she came from a farm with a lot of land and, when her parents died, it all went to her brothers. Orla and her sister were to be left €500 each but, just before her mother died, she also took that away from them.

“They got the whole thing... because they were boys,” she said. “Each one got plenty, more than sufficient.”

They got the whole thing... because they were boys

Apparently, her brothers “took delight” in the change in the will that also gave the “few bob” originally left for the girls in their father’s will to the boys in their mother’s will. They told Orla after their mother’s funeral: “When it even came down to the contents of the house that was really hurtful that we couldn’t even have a momento.”

Rather than contesting the will she said that the sisters decided to “forgive and forget, which we have”.

A male caller named Edward explained that “the reason for it is to keep the land in the family name” and that “a woman doesn’t have a name until she gets married”.

Related stories

The issue of farm transfer is one that Irish Farmers Journal’s legal expert Aisling Meehan has covered many times. In the past she has been asked if a farm transfer can be blocked, and what are the options for transferring a farm to a qualified son.