McConalogue confirms farmers will not be exempt from new residential land tax

Minister for Agriculture is leading a trade delegation in China as part of efforts to boost Irish exports

Farmers with land zoned for residential housing will have to apply to have it dezoned if they want to avoid paying a new Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT), Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said. He confirmed that, as reported in The Irish Times on Saturday, there will be no exemption from the tax, which will replace the Vacant Site Levy from next year, for actively farmed land.

“We want to make sure that the pathways are there for those that do not wish their land to be developed and want to farm it to be able to continue to do that and not to be subject to the tax. But that will mean making sure that they have the opportunity available to dezone their land,” he said.

“If you had to have an exemption for the tax whereby you had land zoned which is never going to be available for housing or for development, then it doesn’t serve any real purpose actually being zoned in the first place. So in that instance, I think an absolutely logical and appropriate pathway to take is to ensure that farmers that want to farm their land can apply to have it dezoned.

“Obviously where things change in the future and their view changes, they can always apply to have it rezoned. But it’s important that any land [that] is owned ... is going to be available for that purpose.”


Mr McConalogue was speaking in Beijing where he is leading the first Irish trade delegation to China since the country lifted its zero-Covid policy. In January, China lifted a three-year ban on Irish beef imports and the first shipment arrived in Shanghai last month.

Brazilian beef has consolidated its dominant position in the Chinese market in recent years and the Minister acknowledged that Ireland’s absence from the market had given competitors an advantage.

“In fairness to our processors, they’ve kept working and they’ve kept the relationships and Bord Bia have worked very hard as well to keep the relationships,” he said.

“But you can’t beat being in the marketplace, meeting and engaging and people being able to see the white of your eye and being able to communicate exactly the product that you have. So for that reason, it’s really, really important to be here this week.”

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times