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€2,000 cut in EU cash to farmers since 2011

Francis Farragher

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Sheep taking shelter during a snow shower on the Galway Road near Tuam at the weekend. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

THERE has been a significant drop in direct payments made to farmers from Europe over the past three years, according to figures released by Fianna Fáil Agricultural Spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív.

He said that the average direct annual payments for farmers in the 2007 to 2011 period – when Fianna Fáil were in power – was €1.965 billion as compared to €1.722 billion for the 2013 to 2015 years.

Deputy Ó Cuív said that this represented an average cut of €243 million per annum or 14% in terms of the funding making its way into the pockets of farmers.

He said that this cut in direct payments translated into an average reduction of €2,000 for individual farmers across the country and was a direct hit on critical income.

“This is a major indictment of the inability of this Fine Gael/Labour Government to ensure adequate funding both from the exchequer and from Europe for the Irish farm sector.’

“It exemplifies the decreasing importance being attached to agriculture as a driving force in our economy. This €243m is coming out of the pockets of farmers and is having a negative impact on the wider community across all businesses, suppliers and services in rural areas,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that if this wasn’t bad enough, major income issues had also arisen in relation to the vegetables, liquid milk, beef, sheep and dairying sectors.

Dairy farmers, he added, were now looking at the added burden of facing into substantial financial penalties because of the final superlevy fines coming into play before the abolition of quotas.

“I really think that our Minister for Agriculture has singularly failed to get any movement on relief measures for farmers being impacted by the superlevy fines.

“Quotas are to be abolished from April 1 next, and the total European milk supplies are well under quota. In those circumstances, I fail to see how Minister Coveney has not been able to progress this issue,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

Connacht Tribune

‘Sit tight’ on Ulster accounts is advice

Francis Farragher

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Rose Mary McDonagh: Bide your time with Ulster Bank.

“SIT tight and bide your time” – that’s the advice to farmer customers of Ulster Bank – following confirmation last week from the bank’s parent company NatWest that operations in the Republic of Ireland will be wound up over the next few years.

Headford’s Rose Mary McDonagh – the IFA’s National Farm Business Chairperson – told the Farming Tribune that the last thing any customer should do was to leave the bank and try and work out their own deal.

It is estimated that there are 10,000 farmers across the country with borrowings from Ulster Bank and a further 10,000 with current accounts – in Galway, the bank has branches in the city, Tuam and Athenry as well as in Claremorris, Athlone and Ennis.

“Customers who have tracker mortgages or terms loans with Ulster Bank will be entitled to exactly the same terms and conditions when their loans are transferred to what we hope will be one of the pillar banks here in Ireland.

“Effectively there should be three options open to Ulster Bank in terms of their loan book transfer – to Bank of Ireland, AIB or Permanent TSB. Under no circumstances do we want to hear of any vulture fund involvement,” said Rose Mary McDonagh.

She said that IFA would be keeping a ‘very close watch’ to ensure that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, and the Central Bank, would not take their eyes off the ball in terms of the Ulster Bank wind down in the Republic.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Don’t miss Greenway deadline!

Francis Farragher

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The five potential walkway/cycleway routes from Athlone to Galway city. The preferred route will be selected later this year.

FARMERS and landowners along the five possible Greenway routes between Athlone and Galway city have been strongly advised to get in touch with the project office in Ballinasloe before Monday next, March 1 – the deadline for submissions.

Henry Walsh, Galway IFA Environment Rep, told the Farming Tribune, there was real concern that a cohort of farmers could miss out on the consultations because of the lack of face-to-face contacts because of the Covid situation.

“We are trying to get the consultation deadline extended because we know that there are certain farmers, possibly in the older age category, who are just not comfortable in situations where they are not discussing issues on a person-to-person basis,” Henry Walsh said.

However, he stressed two things – number one, that the IFA were by no means anti-Greenway and secondly that the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) had been very positive in engaging with them as regards a Code of Practice when engaging with landowners.

He said that while the CPO (compulsory purchase order) process was set down in law, the IFA under any circumstances did not want this used for the acquisition of Greenway land.

“Secondly we want no severance of farms and we want the route wherever possible to make use of state owned or controlled lands. But the basis of everything in this whole process must be a full and open consultation process with all landowners,” said Henry Walsh.

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

Action is sought on beef price cuts

Francis Farragher

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Micheál Haverty: Regulator needed.

FARMERS and beef finishers are pinning their hopes that the factories ‘prices slash’ last week will be short-lived given the market/supply situation.

The meat plants have again been slammed for imposing ‘opportunistic cuts’ on quotes last week which saw the base price for heifers drop from €3.90/kg to €3.70/kg.

Galway IFA Livestock Representative, Micheál Haverty, told the Farming Tribune that there could be no justification for the cuts, other than opportunism from the factories.

“We have some grounds for believing that the prices will rebound quickly enough, but the point is, that these cuts should never have happened in the first place.

“Farmers feel very strongly that it is past time for a regulator with statutory powers to be put in place as regards the whole situation with beef prices.

“Whether it be the likes of energy suppliers or the insurance industry, regulators are in place – we need something similar to deal with the meat plants,” said Micheál Haverty.

He said that Teagasc had established that farmers needed to be getting a base price of €4.50 per kg to at least break even from beef production but they were still a long way off this.

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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