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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘For too long, government has facilitated vulture funds and banks to sell family farms’

Green light for Farm Credit Bill 

The Rural Independent Group’s Impaired Farm Credit Bill 2022 has passed its first stage in Dail Éireann.

According to the group of TDs, the bill – which the master of the High Court has “carefully crafted” on their behalf – aims to protect the family farm from vulture funds and boost low-interest credit for farmers.

The group revealed that the bill would pave the way for a new state-run institution. It stated that it would extend low-interest credit to all farm enterprises in a specialised manner.

They said it would become a “paradigm” shift:

  • Allowing access to capital and credit in rural Ireland;
  • Boosting the entire rural economy;
  • Pivoting regional development in the process.”

Farm Credit Bill 

Speaking from Leinster House today (Tuesday, April 26th, 2026), the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie McGrath, said:

“For too long, the government have facilitated vulture funds and banks to seize and sell family farms in Ireland.”

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“This bill would create a policy platform to tip the scales back in favour of landowners and farmers. It is all about protecting the small man or woman against predatory financial institutions.”

He said the agri-food sector and the role of farmers to the Irish economy is of “systemic importance”.

He stated that it is generating gross value-added equating to €14.4 billion a year. Furthermore, the sector employs 1 in every 10 workers in the state.

He stressed that “farmers are under attack from all quarters”.

Firstly, he said government is targeting “deep cuts” to farmers’ ability to earn a living through climate action reductions and an “inadequate new” CAP programme.

Government policy 

Secondly, he stated that “banks and vulture funds continue to seize and sell off family farms all over the country”. He claimed that government policy is “stacked in favour” of these institutions.

“We have observed first-hand the destruction and crippling impacts these forfeitures have caused to families and rural communities. That is why we have brought forward this imaginative new bill.”

“This would not be possible without the exceptional and invaluable voluntary contribution of the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan.”

“His first-hand knowledge of the difficulties faced by farm families and his exceptional legal expertise have been instrumental to the publication of this bBill.”

Following on from today, the group hope that all TDs will join them and fully support the bill and the farm families it seeks to assist.

“After all, without substantial local agriculture in local ownership, the towns will be blighted, and rural Ireland will continue to decline,” McGrath added.

Banking world 

Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan stated:

“The new world of banking is not geared towards agricultural lending. Put simply; the banks do not ‘get’ agriculture. Their business model will not allow it. Between banking, as we now know it, and agriculture, as we now know it, there is a grave mismatch.”

“It is farmers and their families who are the losers in this process. This bill provides an approach to credit and impaired credit which is ‘sui generis,’ or ‘of its kind’ and unique to the farm enterprise.”

“The bill is an invitation to all stakeholders to engage in a searching reappraisal of the current dysfunction in the banking model as it applies to Irish agriculture,” McGrath concluded.

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