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Categories of Disadvantaged Areas

In Ireland, three categories of disadvantage were established initially in 1975:-

a) areas which exhibited the conditions as specified in Council Directive 75/272/EEC were designated as Less Severely Handicapped;

b) areas at a) where it could be demonstrated that conditions were particularly severe were further classified as More Severely Handicapped;

c) certain mountainous areas were classified as Mountain Sheep Grazing areas. If these were not part of the area at a) or b) above, then payments would be restricted to certain breeds of Mountain Ewe. If they were already in the disadvantaged areas, then additional ewes would be eligible for payments.

During the various reviews since 1975, the Mountain Sheep Grazing areas which existed outside the disadvantaged areas have been absorbed into either the More Severely or Less Severely Handicapped categories. This was completed in the 1989/1991 (Fourth) Review, and the Mountain Sheep Grazing category now exists only in certain locations within the disadvantaged areas.

In the Fourth Review, the Less Severely Handicapped category was divided into two groupings:-

a) areas designated under Article 3.4 of 75/268/EEC (the usual basis on which new areas are selected),and

b) areas designated under Article 3.5 of 75/268/EEC, which allows areas with specific handicaps to be designated as less-favoured without meeting the strict criteria required under Article 3.4. Areas in this sub-category are generally coastal areas or islands which suffer from specific handicaps such as wind/water erosion, excessive climatic conditions, or where preservation is required for environmental or tourism purposes, thereby preventing farmers from fully utilising the land. Land in this category is limited to a maximum of 4% of the total land area of the state.

Areas were designated under Article 3.5 in both the Fourth and Fifth Reviews, and at present amount to 0.4% of the total land area.

The most recent (Fifth) review of Less Favoured Areas took place between 1992 and 1996, with new Less Severely Handicapped areas being designated in 1995 and reclassification of additional land as More Severely Handicapped in 1996.


There is a separate File for each County. The Files are Microsoft EXCEL Spreadsheets, saved in EXCEL 97 format.

The following information is contained in each file

1.Townland Code e.g. A10101, where  
A= County Code
101 = DED Code
01 = Townland Code

Note:- Counties are coded alphabetically from A to Z, with A = Carlow, B = Cavan, C = Clare, D = Cork, etc. down to Z = Wicklow.

2.District Electoral Division (DED)

3.Townland Name

4.Disadvantaged Area Code (DAS)

1 = More Severely Handicapped
2 = Less Severely Handicapped (Article 3.4)
3 = Less Severely Handicapped (Article 3.5)
4 = Not Disadvantaged

5.Townland Area (Acres)

6.Townland Area (Hectares)

7.Less Favoured Area History

0 = Original Designation (1975)
1 = First Review (1976)
2 = Second Review (1979)
3 = Third Review (1985)
4 = Fourth Review (1991)
5= Fifth Review (1995/96)

Notes:- A code of 5.1 or 5.2 indicates a subsequent designation or reclassification within the terms of the Fifth Review.

A Townland can have more than one History Code, indicating that it has progressed through different classifications.


Carlow (xls 216Kb)  Kilkenny (xls 530Kb)  Offaly (xls 382Kb) 
Cavan (xls 715Kb)  Laois (xls 396Kb)  Roscommon (xls 703Kb) 
Clare (xls 876Kb)  Leitrim (xls 519Kb)  Sligo (xls 442Kb) 
Cork (xls 1,806Kb)  Limerick (xls 628Kb)  Tipperary (xls 1,026Kb) 
Donegal (xls 969Kb)  Longford (xls 307Kb)  Waterford (xls 503Kb) 
Dublin (xls 326Kb)  Louth (xls 240Kb)  Wexford (xls 784Kb) 
Galway (xls 1,524Kb)  Mayo (xls 1,115Kb)  Wicklow (xls 486Kb) 
Kerry (xls 969Kb)  Meath (xls 515Kb)  Westmeath (xls 449Kb) 
Kildare (xls 390Kb)  Monaghan (xls 621Kb)   



 ReviewDate  New Areas Added Total Now Disadvantaged % of Land AreaEU Directive 
ORIGINAL 28/4/75 --- 3,983,410 57.8 75/272/EEC 
FIRST 13/12/76 32,426 4,015,837 58.3 77/5/EEC
SECOND 12/1/81 61,354 4,076,374 59.1 81/47/EEC
THIRD 27/6/85 171,764 4,249,761 61.7 85/350/EEC
FOURTH 22/7/91 777,086 5,027,039 72.9 91/466/EEC
FIFTH 23/7/96 128,397 5,155,438 74.8 96/52/EC


 ReviewDate  New M.S.H. Area Total Now M.S.HM.S.H as % of Land M.S.H. as % of LFA 
ORIGINAL 28/4/75 --- 2,631,721 38.2 66.1
FIRST 13/12/76 32,426 2,664,147 38.6 66.3
SECOND 12/1/81 91,892 2,755,222 40.0 67.6
THIRD 27/6/85 374,290 3,131,209 45.4 73.7
FOURTH 22/9/91 527,141 3,661,474 53.1 72.8
FIFTH 23/10/95 413,182 4,074,655 59.1 79.0

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