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Cross-party group meets EU officials on flood solutions

Francis Farragher

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The awfulness of the winter floods is captured in this picture of a house at Cahermore, Kinvara, taken by Bernie Donohue. The water levels against the gable-ends of the house are quite staggering.

A CROSS-PARTY delegation from the West of Ireland this week met with senior officials of the EU’s Environment Commission with a view to clearing the way for much needed flood relief works in the region to go ahead without any further delays.

Midlands/North-West MEP Luke Ming Flanagan said that the purpose of the delegation was to end any confusion once and for all as to who is responsible for key decisions on flood relief measures.

He said that he had arranged for the cross-party group to meet with the Commission in Brussels this week and stressed that the flood crisis was at this stage ‘above politics’.

“The aim of the meeting is to emerge with a clear understanding of what can be done, how it can be done, where it can be done and by whom it can be done.

“Also we want to ascertain whether there are funds available for the work, and to find out how much money is there to be spent on these projects. At that point, hopefully, the work can proceed without delay,” said Ming Flanagan.

Because of the fact that the flooding crisis had now turned into a national emergency, there was a clear need, he said, for any meeting with the Commission to include all political interests.

Ming Flanagan said that over the course of the past few weeks claims had been made – and denied also – that various EU Directives had prevented ‘very necessary’ work from taking place.

Those invited to travel to Brussels include Independent TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Denis Naughten; Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen and Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley.

Last week Deputy Naughten called for a comprehensive aid package to help farmers who had lost fodder during the crisis or whose stock had to be relocated.

“We have now seen two ‘100 year floods’ in the last six years. We need to see real action on the ground from the Office of Public Works that can have an impact on the scale and frequency of flooding of communities in Roscommon, Galway, Leitrim, Longford and Westmeath.

“The time for studies is over, we need action immediately to cover the cost for those who were caught again by this flooding and we need to see practical solutions implemented without delay,” said Deputy Naughten.

Connacht Tribune

Locals thanked for demo backing

Francis Farragher

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Anne Mitchell: Great local support.

GALWAY IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, has thanked the people of Athenry and surrounding areas for their support during Friday’s Action Day protest.

She told the Farming Tribune that the demonstration was planned to cause ‘absolute minimal disruption’ to the people, schools and businesses of the town as well as being conscious of Covid restrictions.

“We really didn’t want anyone on the streets because of the Covid situation and we also advised that where there was more than one person in a vehicle, and not from the same household, that they would wear masks,” said Anne Mitchell.

She said that they were also acutely aware of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations were going on in schools around the town which dictated their decision to stage the protest between 11am and 12 noon.

However, one concerned parent who contacted this newspaper, said that the honking of horns could be heard by those who were doing their Leaving Cert geography exam on Friday.

“While I do understand the reasons behind the protest, I just think that the honking of horns should have been left out it, while an exam was in progress,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry’s action day a wake-up call for the West

Francis Farragher

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The tractorcade is ready to roll in Athenry on Friday in the IFA protest over farm viability and the Climate Action Bill.

AN estimated ‘200 plus’ tractors, cars and jeeps took part in Friday’s IFA ‘Action Day’ protest in Athenry aimed at highlighting major problems coming down the track with the ‘new CAP’ and the Climate Action Bill.

Connacht IFA Chairperson, Pat Murphy, said that they were delighted with the turnout and also with the positive reception they received from the people of Athenry.

“If farming and agriculture go to the wall in rural Ireland it will sound the death-knell for our provincial and villages too.

“We really do need our politicians to wake up to the fact that decisions made over the coming weeks or months could decide the future of rural Ireland as we know it,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that an agenda being driven by the Green Party to drastically reduce the numbers of suckler cows, dairy cows and cattle across Ireland would have a catastrophic impact on Irish agriculture, unless amendments were made to the Climate Action Bill.

“If Irish farmers are prevented in producing the food that’s accepted as being probably the most environmentally friendly and traceable product across the world, then that gap will be filled by countries like Brazil where rain forests are being cut down every single day of the year,” said Pat Murphy.

He also said that the negotiations on CAP coming up at the end of this month would also have huge implications for farming and especially so in the West of Ireland where farms were so dependent on direct payments.

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

Minister outlines ‘tough road ahead’

Francis Farragher

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Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue

A CRITICAL part of the eventual CAP deal for farmers will rest with the flexibility of the Irish Government to make its own decisions on where the money will be allocated, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, told the Farming Tribune last week.

During a whistle-stop tour of a number of agri-related projects in Galway last Thursday, Minister McConalogue said that as things stood, the major stumbling block to an agreement was the European Parliament.

“There are really two aspects of this deal which will be of vital importance to Irish farmers over the coming years – the flexibility to make our own decisions and the percentage of the funding to be spent on ECO schemes,” said Charlie McConalogue.

He said that while some progress had been made at the end of last month’s Trilogue negotiations [EU Commission, Council and European Parliament], it had not been possible to reach an agreement.

“As things stand, what’s blocking a final agreement is the European Parliament part of that Trilogue. We are trying to reach compromises on the issue of convergence, and the ECO scheme element of the payments, but this hasn’t been possible with the parliament so far,” said the Minister.

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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