Mattie McGrath seeks to protect farmland from racing groups

Bring back the Land Commission or some form of agency to stop certain large racing syndicates swallowing up farms in Tipperary, east Cork, west Waterford and elsewhere.

Mattie McGrath seeks to protect farmland from racing groups

That was the plea made in the Dáil last week by Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who said it is terrible that small farmers are being “bought out and bulldozed out of the way”.

He recalled that the Land Commission was introduced to disseminate large estates in the 1940s. It did a good job.

“Now, a conglomerate wants to invest in every five or 10 acres that are going. This is unpalatable, unfair and morally wrong and needs to be addressed”, he said, stressing that what is happening is not good for the future of farming.

Mr McGrath said there is need for an agency such as a reinstated Land Commission to consider what amount of land any one group can own and fence off to the point that not even a snipe can get through.

He appealed to acting Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Simon Coveney and his department to sit up and listen before it is too late.

“Thousands of acres have been amassed. This is not acceptable to young farmers who want to buy 10, 15 or 20 acres to make their farms viable and expand.

“It is not acceptable that farming organisations and everyone else is turning a blind eye,” he said.

“We have seen enough of big business ruining our country in many respects.

“We do not want that to happen to the good farmers in Tipperary and elsewhere. I am speaking for Tipperary. This situation is too much,” he said.

Mr McGrath has called upon the Minister for Agriculture to examine the issue and set up a body to consider land usage policy.

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