"I'm running for President of the Irish Farmers Association in 2023"
"Unity, strength and delivery was the old IFA motto.
There is no delivery without strength.
And there is certainly no strength without unity."
Martin is married to Siobhan, from a Tipperary farming background, she provides dental care for children and adults with disabilities in the Midwest health service. Jessica (17), James (16) and Vicky (14) are all in Scoil na Trionoide Naofa. Doon and all help out on the farm in their free time.
Martin Stapleton has delivered for Irish Farm Families
During Martin Stapleton’s term as Farm Business Chair, he has demonstrated an actual, proven record of delivery in complex areas which required strategic vision, management ability, negotiating skills and team building.
No other candidate has demonstrated these actual skills.
Highlights of Farm Business Chairmanship 2016-2019
1. Earned Income Tax Credit worth almost €5000 tax free to every farmer.
The Earned Income Tax Credit was delivered during the first year of Martin Stapleton’s Chairmanship of the Farm Business Committee. The initial sum allowed in 2016 was €550pa and was followed by an increase of €550 in 2017 with further instalments over subsequent years. It Currently stands at €1,775. This tax credit was designed to mirror the PAYE tax credit which was previously only available to PAYE workers This means approximately €5000 of each self-employed farmers income is now tax free.
2. Innovative Low Interest Farm Loan Scheme 2017
The €150m Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme (ACSLS) was launched in January 2017 to support Irish farmers experiencing short-term financial pressure due to price and income volatility. Developed in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Scheme was available through, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. The ACSLS scheme was fully allocated and consequently closed in March 2017. The rate offered was 2.95% which was 4% below market rates.
The annual saving of interest paid by farmers on this loan scheme was €6 million.
This scheme was deemed to be so successful that it has be used many times since as the template for further subsidized loan schemes.
3. IFA’s Annual Budget Submission
On an annual basis IFA submits its Budget Submission to the Government of Ireland.
Martin Stapleton as chair led this submission for 4 years.
There are two sides to this submission. Taxation Reliefs, and Domestically funded supports for Irish Farming.
The impact of continuing tax reliefs for Irish farmers are substantial for every farming family, especially when it comes to the intergenerational transfer of land or the purchase of land. Every year the Farm Business Committee must lobby for these reliefs to be continued.
One little known relief is the excise exemption for green diesel which is worth at least €570 million to Irish Agriculture every year. The Farm Business Committee under Martin Stapleton lobbied for this every year.
Every year Martin Stapleton secured increased supports for suckler farmers, sheep farmers and especially the ANC areas in conjunction with the relevant committees.
4. Access to alternative loans via your local Cultivate associated Credit Union.
During Martin Stapleton’s time as Farm Business Chair the innovative concept of a proven model of lending to farmers by Credit Unions was established. This has now expanded to 44 credit unions, with maximum loans of €75k for up to 7 years.
This option has proved very popular for farmers and has provided real competition for the pillar banks especially for short- and medium-term borrowing.
5. Debt Support Service for farmers with distressed loans
Martin Stapleton’s time as Farm Business Chair coincided with the departure of many banks and lenders from the Irish market and the remaining banks dealing with the non-performing loans that arose from the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy.
Most often, this resulted in Vulture funds buying up farmers loans at a discount. With hundreds of farmers needing support to deal with this difficult situation, Martin set up the IFA Debt Support Service consisting of 4 experienced voluntary officers backed up by a trained professional advisor.
Over the following years this service has provided invaluable support, expertise, and assistance for farmers at their most vulnerable time. In very many cases agreements were achieved which allowed those farmers to continue farming.
No farmers will ever go public to tell their story, but privately they all describe the utter relief for themselves and their families when the issue is closed and they can resume farming without worry.
IFA opposing sale of Meath farm by vulture fund
Martin Stapleton, Chairman of the IFA’s Farm Business Committee, issued a warning that if someone were to buy the land the IFA would ensure local farmers would refuse to co-operate with them.
This, he said, would effectively render the land worthless to any potential buyer.
Mr Stapleton also said there are about 2,000 farm families around the country who are in serious difficulties over debt and that attempted forced sales like the McCann’s look set to become more common in the months and years ahead.
Stapleton enters race to become next IFA president
The current IFA national treasurer and national returning officer made the announcement at a meeting of the Limerick IFA county executive in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick this evening (Wednesday, June 7), where he sought support for his election bid.
Farmers storm AIB Annual General meeting during loan sale protest
Farmers have stormed an Allied Irish Banks meeting in protest at the sale of loans to vulture funds.
Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association made their way into the bank’s annual general meeting in Dublin on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign opposing the planned sale of farm loans by the state-owned bank.
AIB has agreed a deal to sell a billion euro-worth of bad loans to US-based fund Cerberus.
The portfolio comprises about 2,200 non-performing loans including mortgages. More than 100 farm loans are included.
IFA farm business chairman Martin Stapleton said AIB needed to recognise that farmers were trying to repay their debts.
“What AIB are proposing to do is inappropriate,” he said. “Selling (loans of) people who are genuinely trying to repay their debt is not the way to go.
“Backing brave means bravely backing people who are willing to bravely back themselves. And nobody has or needs more courage than someone who is willing to give their life’s work in order to pay back their debt.
© Copyright Martin Stapleton for IFA President