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Floods return to Galway as storms roll in

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TENS of thousands of acres of Galway farmland lie under water this week as farmers and families brace themselves for another weekend of wind and rain.

The Shannon Callows is within ‘one inch’ of potential catastrophe for farmers, according to local farmer Michael Silke, who is also National Chairman of the IFA’s Flood Project Team.

“At the end of the day, the human suffering aspect of what people have gone through in the Shannon Callows area is never factored in by the politicians and I would have to say that OPW Minister, Brian Hayes, has been a total disaster for us.

“This man (Hayes) doesn’t seem to have any grasp of the situation that’s once again unfolding for thousands of householders in the Shannon Callows area – the only words we ever hear are ‘cost benefit analysis’ from the Minister. He is just turning a blind eye to what’s going on,” said Michael Silke.

Michael Silke said that relatively straight forward dredging maintenance work on key bottleneck sections of the Shannon that were silting over, could make a huge difference to absorbing the flood waters that were causing so much hardship.

“If for example, the channel was widened from Shannonbridge to Athlone – a stretch of waterway only about 12 or 13 miles long – the impact would be enormous. This is not rocket science but Ministers sitting in cosy offices in Dublin just don’t tune into this,” said Michael Silke.

Thousands of acres of land are now under water in a large tranche of South Galway through Gort, Peterswell, Ardrahan and Ballinderreen.

Long time campaigner for flood relief in South Galway, Mattie Hallinan, said that what was really heartbreaking for many people, especially in the Ardrahan and Ballinderreen areas, was that there was a ready solution to the flooding problem if channels to the sea were widened and properly maintained.

“It’s every bit as bad – if not worse – than the situation that applied in 2009. Water levels are rising through the week and with more rain on the way this weekend we are really looking at a crisis situation,” said Mattie Hallinan.

Another local flood campaigner, Pat Greene, said that the flood problems in the area had seriously worsened in the past week with several roads flooded, houses under threat and farmyards also at high risk of flooding.

Galway IFA Chairman, Michael Flynn said that farmers in the South and East Galway areas were most under threat as flood waters continued to rise.

“The flood problem has been highlighted year after year with different Governments but nothing seems to happen – it gets bogged down in red tape.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Green Ribbon walk in Coole

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Galway farmers who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk

AT long last, it was back to the great outdoors on Sunday last for a party of Galway farmers (pictured) who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk at Coole Park, Gort.

It was all part of the IFA’s national day out at different venues across the country to promote the concepts of good mental health and people taking care of each other.

With the easing of Covid restrictions, IFA is encouraging families and individuals to get ‘out and about’ as a way of helping to relieving the stresses of daily life.

Close on 40 people took part in the walk through the beautiful grounds of Coole Park and it is hoped to have many more on what should be an unrestricted event next year.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the walk to promote awareness of mental health issues, represented a return to some form of normality as Ireland gradually came out of the pandemic.

“It was a lovely event to promote mental health and wellbeing among all ages. Already we are looking forward to next year’s walk when we hope to have a lot more people taking part,” said Anne Mitchell.

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Bord Bia say demand is ‘on the up’ for quality assured lambs

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Market growing for quality assured Irish lamb.

WHILE 95% of Irish beef is quality assured (QA) at the point of slaughter, the comparable figure for Irish lamb is only 60%, according to the latest Farmer Newsletter from the Bord Bia Quality Assured body.

It pointed out that while QA status on Irish lamb has been important on the domestic market for some time, there has recently been growing interest from key EU customers in securing quality assured Irish lamb.

“Purchasers of Irish lamb products are increasingly looking for proof that meat is produced sustainably on farms that are certified members of an accredited quality assurance scheme.

“Such a quality assurance scheme is to be based on sustainability principles incorporating environmental, social and economic aspects,” the newsletter states.

It also stated the importance of presenting lambs for slaughter that meet customer specifications as regards weight limits and fat cover.

The current specification from the major processors is generally for R grading lambs or better with a fat score of 3 and a carcase weight of 21kg, according to Bord Bia.

They state that upper carcase weight limits can vary across the year from 20kg-23kg, with ‘no economic sense’ in keeping lambs to heavier carcase weights if they can be finished sooner.

“Killing a lamb with adequate fat cover is also essential to meet customer requirements, and in recent weeks, some reports have indicated an increase in the number of under-finished lambs being presented for slaughter due to deadweight prices coming under pressure.

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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