Farmers won’t have their land unfairly ‘grabbed’

May 16th, 2020 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Eileen Calnan, chairperson of West Cork ICMSA, has condemned what she called a ‘land grab’. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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COMPULSORY purchase of farmland for house building  by government has been condemned as a ‘bad and dangerous’ idea and a ‘land grab’.

West Cork ICMSA chairperson Eileen Calnan was responding to proposals that were floated in government formation talks that would allow local authorities or government agencies to CPO farmland for house building but only pay the landowner agricultural value plus a 25% top-up.

The Clonakilty farmer said: ‘The idea of compulsory purchase of farmland for housebuilding that involved systematic and deliberate underpayment for the land is more akin to confiscation than public policy.’

She added: ‘You cannot have a situation where a local authority or government agency CPOs farmland at a price less than its market value. Permitting the CPO in the first place is an infringement of the landowner’s right not to sell, the idea that an arm of the State can force me to sell my land and then deliberately underpay me for that land is not public policy; it would have more in common with dictatorships than it would with democratic state governed by a constitution.’

Meanwhile, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said that proposals in the FF-FG government formation document  to take private property from citizens and pay less than the market value will also be strongly resisted by IFA, farm families and property owners.

‘IFA is completely opposed to any such land grab by the State whether that be through legislation or referenda to change constitutional property rights.’

He advised that any future government should avoid unnecessary conflict with property owners, including farmers, and address the current housing challenge by building on land already owned by the State.

‘The reality is that there are almost 2,000 hectares of land under State ownership, which can be mobilised today to address the housing challenge.

‘IFA will not allow the housing problem to be used as a Trojan horse to diminish the property rights of farmers and property owners across the country.

Farmers deserve fair value for their lands. Any attempt to pay less than the open market value for land and associated compensation will be strongly opposed.’

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