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Connacht Tribune

Call for a stress helpline to be put in place

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Macra National President, James Healy

A 24/7 HELPLINE service for farmers who feel under stress for a variety of reasons has been called for by Macra na Feirme in their Pre-Budget Submission to Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe.

The young farmers organisation have said in their submission that such a helpline service would cost €1.2 million to implement but would help to fill ‘an extraordinary need’ in relation to farmer healty, safety and wellbeing issues.

The Farmer Assistance Programme, according to Macra, would provide farmers with practical help and emotional support to enable them take pro-active measures in times of crisis.

Macra envisage that such an assistance-helpline programme would cover the full spectrum of wellbeing issues including stress management; work/life balance; wellness; conflict resolution and financial planning.

“It is envisaged that the programme would have various avenues available for farmers to engage with the service, including helplines and one-to-one discussions to assist them in dealing with challenges they may be facing,” Macra state.

According to Macra National President, James Healy, since last year’s Budget Day, farmers have endured one of their toughest ever years in terms of weather with extremes of rain, cold, heat and drought conditions.

This has led to huge input costs for farmers trying to cope with animal feed needs adding greatly to stress levels felt by the farming community right across the country, said James Healy.

“The Government needs to show its commitment to young farmers by addressing the immediate issue of high stress levels and long-term funding issues.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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