Written Answers. - Foreign Purchase of Agricultural Land.

660.

asked the Minister for Agriculture the regulation in relation to the purchase of agricultural land in the Republic by foreigners from EEC and non-EEC member states; and if it is necessary for such purchasers to have the approval of the Land Commission before taking possession of the lands purchased.

The relevant provisions are contained in Section 45 of the Land Act, 1965, which requires that all non-Irish citizens, except those with seven years continuous residence in Ireland, and all companies, both Irish and foreign, must obtain the consent of the Land Commission to acquire an interest in non-urban land. There are exceptions in favour of the following categories:

— those who are certified by the Minister for Industry and Energy as having shown to his satisfaction that they are purchasing land exclusively for industrial purposes and

— those who are certified by the Land Commission as having shown to their satisfaction that they are purchasing not more that two hectares for private residential purposes.

In addition, nationals of member states of the EEC who are exercising the right of establishment under Article 52 of the Treaty of Rome are entitled to have their applications dealt with on that basis.