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Commonage deadline of July 3 can’t be achieved

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Gerry Finneran and John Higgins, from Ballygar, enjoy a bit of 'tomfoolery' at the Mountbellew Mart Show and Sale last week. Picture: Hany Marzouk

A JULY 3 deadline for the completion of Commonage Management Plans affecting hundreds of farmers across Connemara will be impossible to meet, according to farming and planners representatives.

As part of the individual GLAS plans to be completed by April 30 next, hill and commonage farmers – plus the planners – are facing a July 3 deadline for the completion of the Commonage Management Plan (the old Commonage Framework Plan).

With thousands of acres of hill land to be walked before this Commonage Management Plan can be drawn up, planners and farm representatives have stated categorically, that the July 3 deadline is an impossible one.

“This deadline is completely and totally unrealistic – it cannot be met and especially in the context of the workloads faced by planners involved in GLAS and the Basic Payments Scheme.

“This deadline must be moved by a couple of months at least to give some kind of realistic timescale for the Commonage Plan to be drawn up,” said Brendan Joyce of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association.

He also said that a problem of equal importance for hill and commonage farmers ‘signing up’ for GLAS by April 30, was that they were committing to a Commonage Plan not yet drawn up that could fall foul of future Dept. of Agriculture inspections.

“These farmers who individually go into GLAS by the end of April are also signing up for a plan that they don’t know the contents of. It’s like shootin’ in the dark,” said Brendan Joyce.

Agricultural Consultant and Planner, Vincent Costello, from New Inn, said that given the scale of the work involved in drawing up a Commonage Management Plan, the July 3 deadline – announced earlier this month – would be be impossible to meet.

“Thousands of acres of land have to be walked and looked at in detail before such a plan can be drawn up. This is a job that requires a lot of time, a lot of care and a lot of walking – it cannot be done before July 3,” said Vincent Costello.

Brendan Joyce also said that the Dept. had to give a commitment that they would accept the Commonage Plans drawn up by professional planners, or else farmers would be facing into an impossible situation.

“We have no problem at all with a plan (Commonage Management) possibly having to be amended a couple of years down the road if major changes occurred and we have no problem with farmers implementing the plan as it’s outlined.

“But what we cannot have is the Department coming back to individual farmers and penalising because they (the Dept.) start picking holes in the original Commonage Plan,” said Brendan Joyce.

Connacht Tribune

Smiles . . . but little else for farmers

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Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, before their presentation of Budget 2022 to the Dáil.

FARM leaders have described this week’s Budget 2022 as ‘underwhelming and disappointing’ for the Irish agricultural sector – with nothing new of any substance in the financial plan for the coming year.

The rollover of the different agricultural schemes – annually worth in the region of €600m – has been one of the few aspects of Budget 2022 that has been welcoming by the farming sector.

An overall budget allocation of almost €1.86 billion has been set aside for the Dept. of Agriculture next year in addition to almost €1.2 billion of EU direct-payment funding.

The farming sector had sought to have a percentage of the carbon tax allocated for the setting up of a new REPS II type environmental scheme – however, this hasn’t happened.

Chair of the IFA’s National Farm Business Committee, Rose Mary McDonagh, told the Farming Tribune that there was really nothing of any significance in the budget for the farming commuity.

“There was a commitment in the Programme for Government that a percentage of the carbon tax would be allocated for the establishment of a new REPS II type scheme but unfortunately this hasn’t happened.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Farmers urged to stand up and fight

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Out in force: Michael O’Donohoe, Abbeyknockmoy; Pat Gately, Kiltormer; Noel Kelly, Mullagh and Micheál Haverty, Clonberne, at last Friday’s IFA protest rally in Roscommon.

THE Government has been sent a strong message that they must ‘talk to farmers’ and not ‘at them’ following last Friday’s series of rallies across the country, according to Connacht IFA Chair Pat Murphy.

He said that many farmers across the West of Ireland – and all over the country – were now very fearful of the future given the lack of clarity, negotiation and information at what was coming down the track for them over the coming years.

“I’d put it like this. On Friday in Roscommon, I met many, many ordinary farmers who mightn’t have been at a protest ever before who turned out for this one. We were delighted with the turnout at the four venues across the country,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that the three main issues that kept coming up with farmers were the eco scheme elements of the new CAP; the future of the suckler cow sector; and the lack of ‘real negotiations’ that the Government had undertaken with the farming representatives.

An estimated 400 farmers turned out for the Connacht rally outside Hyde Park in Roscommon which followed on from the first early-morning gathering in Cavan.

The third ‘afternoon rally’ took place in Portlaoise while the biggest turnout of the day was in Cork for ‘the night event’, which attracted an estimated 3,000 people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

A battle for survival!

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Huge turnout sought for farmer rallies on Friday.

IN the weeks and months ahead, Irish farming faces one of its biggest challenges. The recently-passed Climate Action Bill means Ireland has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51%. This leaves the Government with one of the biggest policy challenges in the history of the State.

They selected this target without any consideration of the consequences for the economy, or for Irish farming. Shortly, the Government will publish carbon budgets, and Sectoral Emissions Ceilings. This will include a legally-binding emissions ceiling for Irish agriculture.

Because of this, every policy pursued by the Government is now designed to reduce output and hit our most productive farmers. This will have huge consequences for Irish farming. Already, the Government is talking about having a ‘stable national herd’.

There is no such thing as a ‘national herd’. We have over 100,000 cattle herds in this country, with an average of fewer than 70 animals. These cattle are owned by farmers, not the State. The livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families depend on these herds. We cannot place a new quota on these farmers.

IIn the coming weeks, our Minister will also finalise his plan for Ireland’s next CAP programme for 2023-27. Based on the current proposals, 25% will be sliced off every farmer’s Basic Payment to fund Eco Schemes.

Many farmers will not be able to qualify.  Those who do, will suffer significant compliance costs. As a result, some of our most productive farmers will see their incomes devastated. These Eco Schemes are cuts, not ‘rewards for environmental actions’ as some in Government are describing them.

The EU rules allow our own Government to reduce the percentage cut for Eco Schemes below 25%. The Minister must pursue this and the schemes must be designed in a way that allows our most productive farmers to get a larger Eco Scheme payment.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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