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Farmers wins appeal over his effort to keep sheep off Connemara tourist road

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A common sight in Connemara as sheep graze along the roadsides.

A CONNEMARA farmer, who erected a wire fence in order to keep his sheep off the road, became the subject of a planning appeal to An Bord Pleanala – the appeal proved to be unsuccessful.

The fence was erected on lands about two miles from Kylemore Abbey as the owner was conscious of the fact that the road running by the property was becoming increasingly trafficked.

The road in question takes tourists through the Inagh Valley and the owner of the lands provided a fence measuring 1,850 metres in length. The fence was erected manually and no machinery was brought on site during the course of the works.

However, An Taisce appealed planning permission that was granted for the retention of the fence which was provided on the lands that are owned by Arthur Walsh. The lands are not commonage.

An Taisce, in their appeal to An Bord Pleanala, stated that the lands are in a highly sensitive location and they considered that the fence was visually intrusive and unsympathetic to the immediate landscape.

They said that the fence detracts from the visual amenities and unique character of the landscape. They added that it is contrary to objectives to preserve the traditional open unfenced landscape.

“The development is located within the Maamturk Mountains Special Area of Conservation. The synopsis for the site notes the fact that the main threats are overgrazing, peat cutting and afforestation.

“To permit the fencing would be contrary to a plan regarding the protection and enhancement of natural heritage and biodiversity and the protection of the integrity of European sites.

“There is no justification for the fencing has been submitted and there is no basis for the use of the bog land for grazing,” An Taisce stated in their appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

In response, Mr Walsh said that because of its low level, the fence does not obstruct views and it was required in view of increased traffic in the area and for safety.

He said that it was not safe to have animals accessing this particular road. He added that the fence would have no change on the landscape. “The effect on the landscape character is judged to be neutral,” he added.

In their ruling, An Bord Pleanala stated that the fence would be in keeping with the established use of the lands for the grazing of sheep and, subject to compliance with the conditions, the proposed development would not have a negative impact on the scenic character of the area or on its potential for recreational amenity.

They also said that a proposed screening initiative meant that it would not interfere with protected sites like the Maamturk Mountains or the Twelve Bens-Garraun complex.

Connacht Tribune

Cattle trade still going strong

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Micheál Haverty: Strong demand fuelling market.

A BUOYANT cattle trade looks set to continue through the Summer with marts reporting a very strong demand for stock – and especially so for quality animals ‘up the weights’.

With demand outweighing supply in key markets such as the UK, EU and China, cattle prices are expected to harden even further over the coming weeks.

Factory prices for steers and heifers are coming in at the meat plants this week at between €4.20 to €4.30 per kg as the factories are finding it difficult to source cattle to meet customer orders.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Representative, Micheál Haverty, said that while the market situation for both cattle and sheep was quite encouraging, it needed to be, given the increase in input costs.

“There have been significant increases in price for fertiliser, fuel – and especially meal – which has taken a real hike.

“But at least with prices having increased for livestock, farmers will be in a position to meet those extra costs but margins are still very tight,” said Micheál Haverty.

Another encouraging sign, he said, was that prices had ‘hardened’ for cattle even before the latest lifting of restrictions relating to the coronavirus.

“Having said that, we are delighted to see the restaurant, hospitality and catering trade coming back to some sort of normality here at home.

“We know that there is a huge demand for locally produced, high-quality beef and lamb – the re-opening of this sector will also be a boost for competition,” said Micheál Haverty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Miracle of the lost sheep in heart of Connemara

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Five of the Cladoirs at the National Park in Letterfrack.

AN extinct breed of sheep – written off as not hardy enough for the challenging Connemara landscape – has now officially re-emerged after a quarter of a century on the missing list!

The Cladoir species were native to Connemara, but post-Famine they were pushed out to the margins – literally to the water’s edge on the west coast – as other breeds found favour with farmers and land owners.

In fact their name, Cladoir, translates as shore dweller, and in their prime, they were kept mainly for their long wool, as opposed to their meat, before the Famine.

But in the 1850s, British breeds were introduced to the mountains, where they thrived, pushing native Cladoir sheep towards south Connemara. They survived around the coast in small numbers.

An agricultural researcher studied them at a research station in Maam in the 1980s, but the small flock was dispersed after he retired. The breed was deemed effectively extinct in 1995.

However, retired agricultural adviser Seán Cadden and Tom King, a farmer from Westport, were enchanted by the Cladoir story and made enquiries in South Connemara about the sheep.

They managed to assemble a small flock of Cladoir-like sheep, which were then purchased by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. A number of other Cladoir-like sheep were also purchased by the National Park last year.

Last autumn, 65 sheep from this flock were sampled for a DNA test; 56 of those including males and females had significant DNA of a distinct breed – the Cladoir DNA.

Their return from oblivion was officially recognised at the weekend when Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, visited Connemara National Park on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Locals thanked for demo backing

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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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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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