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HomeFarming News99.7% of Irish farms are family businesses - report
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99.7% of Irish farms are family businesses – report

New research conducted by Dublin City University (DCU) has revealed that 64% of Irish business are family businesses, which total 160,700 business.

These family operations were also found to employ 938,000 people, which is about 2/3 of the working population of Ireland.


This research, titled ‘Irish Family Business by Numbers’, is the first of its kind in Ireland. Its goal was to identify the number of family businesses in Ireland, the total number of people employed in Irish family business and the sectors where family businesses are most numerous.

The report, which is based on Census data from 2016 and written by Colm O’Gorman, found that there are 137,100 family farms in Ireland, accounting for 99.7% of all operating farms in the country.


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For this study, a family business is one where:

  • One family holds more than 50% of voting shares, and/or;
  • One family supplies a significant proportion of the senior management and effectively controls the business, and/or;
  • A family or a family relationship influences the enterprise and the latter is perceived to be a family business.

Commenting on this data, DCU National Centre for Family Business Director, Eric Clinton, said: “Family businesses are at the heart of Irish economic and social life. You need only look at the names of the sponsors on a GAA jersey in rural Ireland to see the significance of family business at a regional level.”

“That contribution is perhaps not recognised in the same way as larger multinationals based in Ireland.”

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