Ireland South MEP candidate Cynthia Ní Mhurchú has called on Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin to exempt agri-tourism short-term lets from upcoming legislation on the short-term letting sector.

Ní Mhurchú pointed to the fact that many family farms have diversified into tourism accommodation to ensure the viability of the family farm.

She appealed to Minister Martin, who is responsible for the short-term letting legislation, not to criminalise small farmers who have renovated self-catering units on their farm to try to makes ends meet.

Agri tourism

“While these agri-tourism buildings would not be suitable for longer-term lets as they are located on the family farm, they would be suited to more short-term summer rentals," she said.

"The value of this is twofold, in that it gives farming families a lifeline to support their income, but also offers tourists the opportunity to engage with Irish farming and heritage.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú pointed to the value of agri tourism in rural Ireland.

“Agri tourism can sustain rural family farms. It brings tourists to parts of rural Ireland that they would not otherwise visit.”

Short-term letting bill

The short-term tourist letting bill is currently under consideration following the successful passing of the EU regulation for short-term rentals in the European Parliament.

Cynthia Ní Mhurchú described the communication around the bill as chaotic and said there is general confusion among short-term let owners across the country on the question of whether they will be expected to apply for planning permission to retain their short-term tourist lettings.

The new bill would require those advertising short-term lettings to register with Fáilte Ireland.