Farmers will be hit by a controversial development levy after Kerry County Council voted to bring in new charges.
Farm building work in the county will be hit by a flat rate levy of €4.10 per sqm on new facilities over 250sqm.
The IFA had urged the council to consider exemptions like other counties that would effectively wipe out the charges for farmers.
Independent councillor Johnny Healy- Rae said the development contribution scheme, including an amendment applying the levy to farm buildings over 250sqm, had been passed.
Mr Healy- Rae said 250sqm was only a small exemption when it came to farm buildings and most structures would be impacted by such a levy. It means farmers may face a charge of over €2,200 for an average four-bay shed for animals.
On the amendment, he said 15 councillors voted in favour, 14 against and there were four absentees.
Mr Healy-Rae who opposed the levy in its entirety said he felt the council would gain little by it.
He said it would hit small farmers hard when they were giving a lot back to their rural communities already.
In the face of much talk of saving rural communities, he branded this a “disappointing” and “retrograde” step.
“It also opens the door to it increasing in the future,” he said.
The IFA pointed out much of the building work carried out was to comply with EU regulations, highlighting the monies farmers already spend locally.
The new levy is part of a suite of charges from the council set out in the newly passed contribution plan aimed at supporting rural development and the reuse of existing buildings.
It excludes silage pits, yards and slurry pits.
The same flat rate agricultural charge will also apply to horticultural polytunnels, glasshouses, mushroom tunnels, garden centres and nurseries.
Contributions on intensive farms such as pig or poultry would be subject to the standard rate for industrial development of €12 per sqm.
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