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Agricultural policy and land tenure in an Irish marginal county

Seamus Grimes


This paper has a twofold objective. Firstly, recent land policy both at EEC and Irish government levels is evaluated from the perspective of the small family farm in County Leitrim. one of Ireland's most marginal farming areas. Secondly, recent changes in a small sample ot County Leitrim farms are analysed in terms of their land tenure and household characteristics. The data reveal considerable social and cultural obstacles to an efficient system of land transfer resulting in a low level of land mobility. The policy response to such marginal conditions has not been encouraging either at EEC or National government level. Inadequate EEC directives have resulted in failure and while some positive intervention has been achieved by Irish agenicies such as the Land Commission, there has been a general failure to show awareness of conditions on the ground. State intervention through the welfare code has resulted in a strong dependency mentality which has greatly reduced the incentive to exploit either individual or communal resources.

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