Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Sustaining Viable Rural Communities: Discussion (Resumed)

2:15 pm

Mr. Thomas Cooney:

The proposal has been examined and we believe it would be difficult to administer. A farm family may have a number of cars and some family members could be employed elsewhere, which means the exemption could be abused. The marker in diesel has been improved and we are informed that the use of laundered diesel has declined as a result. The proposed scheme would create a cashflow problem initially and farmers are already experiencing problems accessing finance. The scheme would impose a serious burden on agricultural contractors who cut silage in June and this burden would fall back on the farmer, creating an additional cashflow problem. We are in favour of waiting to see if the improved marker works. The issue may have to be reviewed in future but we are not keen on the proposal at the moment because of the cashflow problems it would create.

We were asked a question about planning. I attended the national planning framework consultation, which was held in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin in May or June 2016. The IFA will make a submission when the time comes. Our position is that the current housing guidelines are ten years old and must be redrafted and placed on a statutory footing. We would require local authorities to grant planning permission to families who wish to work and live in their local communities. While we clearly do not want a house to be built in every field, we must strike a balance that allows people who are indigenous to an area and who wish to live and work in it the opportunity to build a house there.