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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

Farmers are advised to get early advice on 2023 Nitrates Derogation requirements

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Tighter limits in latest Nitrates Derogation requirements. Photo: Courtesy of Teagasc.

MORE intensively stocked farmers – the vast majority of them in the dairy sector – have been advised by the Minister for Agriculture to ‘engage as soon as possible’ with the Nitrates Derogation application process.

Charlie McConalogue also advised dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural advisors – given the new excretion rate bands applicable to dairy cows since January 1, 2023.

The Minister added that the Nitrates Derogation provided farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising water quality.

“The Nitrates Derogation is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.”

“All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment, particularly those farming more intensively.

“It is crucial that we protect and restore our waters as soon as possible to maintain the Nitrates Derogation at current levels into the future.

“Water quality is crucial to a healthy environment and farmers are keen to drive further improvements here,” said the Minister.

The Dept. of Agriculture has outlined the three bands applicable for dairy cows: 80kg N/cow; 92 kg N/cow; and 106 kg N/cow per year.  Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of a nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway farmers to meet on crisis in sheep

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David Harney: Common sense has prevailed.
Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney

GALWAY sheep farmers will get the chance to vent their feelings on the prices and cost crisis facing the sector at a meeting in Tuam next week.

The meeting – hosted by Galway IFA – will take place in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam, on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 8pm.

It follows a national meeting of sheep farmers in Athlone last month at which the problems facing the sector in terms of declining prices, rising costs and lack of Government aid were highlighted.

According to Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, information provided at the Athlone meeting by Teagasc specialists indicated a profitability level of only €7 per ewe for sheep farmers.

“This is absolutely flabbergasting. No member of society could work 24/7 and expect such a miserly return. Government support for the sheep industry is essential now in order to preserve the sector,” said Stephen Canavan.

Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney also stated that the recent government report into the wool industry had provided nothing to sheep farmers that would give confidence in the future.

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.

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

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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

Query over Department’s BVD Stats

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ALL may not be as the Dept. of Agriculture is painting it in relation to the prevalence of BVD in herds, according to a North Galway farmer who has contacted the Farming Tribune.

The farmer, from the Caltra area, who has a herd of 25 sucklers with no recent buy-ins, said that in the past year he had to have three calves put down due to BVD.

He said that while the Department of Agriculture were trying to paint a picture of BVD almost being eliminated from the national herd, this wasn’t the reality on the ground.

“This just isn’t the case on my farm – I now of other farmers who have lost animals due to BVD,” the farmer stated.

He said that he wanted to put the record straight as regards claims from Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, who had claimed that Ireland was now close to achieving ‘the goal of BVD freedom’.

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) was first recognised as a major disease problem in Irish herds when the first year of the BVD programme started.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, the incidence of the virus in tested animals stood at 0.66% while in 2022, this had dropped to 0.03%.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that while the overall national trend in the incidence of BVD was very encouraging, there could still be pockets of the disease in herds.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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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