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Galway TDs welcome Govt. decision not to sell off Coillte forests

Francis Farragher

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THE Government decision last week not to sell off the forestry harvesting rights of Coillte, has received cross-party support from TDs across Galway.

Fianna Fáil Agricultural Spokesman said that the proposal from day one was ‘a stupid one’ that would have had a devastating impact on both the timber industry and the growing rural recreation industry.

“This would have also been contrary to an integrated approach for the development of the forestry and ecology sector. There is now an enhanced opportunity to develop the use of the very valuable Coillte lands.

“This was the second ridiculous proposal from Government in relation to the sale of state assets that they have rowed back on. The first proposal was the plan to sell shares in ESB.

“This would have removed a basic level of infrastructure from public ownership. Undaunted, the Government came up with proposals in relation to Coillte – thankfully in this case they had to submit to the power of careful analysis,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that the Government should now ‘move on’ and stop wasting Oireachtas time on badly thought out proposals that hadn’t even received cursory examination.

Last week Public Expenditure Minister, Brendan Howlin, announced that ‘now was not the appropriate time’ for pressing ahead with plans to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte.

“Our due diligence has indicated that it is not prudent to go ahead and sell the trees in that way and it will not be happening. Instead we are having an evaluation of the future of Coillte,” said Deputy Howlin.

A report by economist Peter Bacon said the Coillte sale made no financial sense. A price of €1.3bn would be needed to make up for the loss of 80 years of profits, he said.

Labour Party TD for Galway West Derek Nolan has said that last week’s decision not to sell of harvesting rights on Irish forests showed that the public interest had been put first.

“This is an issue that Labour Deputies have been lobbying Minister Howlin on for a long time, and I am glad he has taken our views on board. I also know that the people of Galway will be relieved that their access to Coillte forests in the area will not be compromised, as they will remain in State ownership,” said Deputy Nolan.

West Galway Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne has also welcomed the decision not to proceed with the sale adding that it was made on the basis of a thorough analysis undertaken by NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department.

“As part of the process, a number of detailed financial, technical and other specialist reports were prepared in relation to Coillte, by external specialist consultancy bodies, in full consultation with the Board of Coillte and its executive management,” said Sean Kyne.

East Galway Fine Gael TD, Paul Connaughton jnr. has also welcomed the Government decision not to sell off the Coillte harvesting rights.

“I think that on balance this is a very good decision and wil protect the country’s forestry interests for generations to come,” said Deputy Connaughton.

 

Connacht Tribune

Saving a link with pre-famine days

Francis Farragher

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THE TEAM: Roofing contractors, Jamie and Eddie Costello; Conservation Consultant, Gerry McManus; Fearghus and Conor Deely, along with their ‘guest’, French student, Joachim Reveillon, pictured in front of their handywork on the old buildings at New Inn.

THERE’S an old saying in farming that from one generation to the next: “You should leave the place in a better state than when you got it,” and it’s a principle that a New-Inn farmer has adopted with a fair dash of enthusiasm.

Conor Deely, with the help of grant aid from the National Heritage Council, is in the process of conserving and repairing two stone buildings on his farm that he can date back to pre-famine times.

His grandfather, Patrick Deely, purchased the farm at New Inn around the time of the foundation of the State back in 1922, and always ensured that the farm and its outhouses were kept in spick and span shape.

“I suppose like everything else, with the passing of time the buildings gradually fell into a state of disrepair, but I remember them as a child being  well kept.

“I always had it in my head to try and bring them back as close as possible to the way they were, but knew that there would be a lot of work involved and a fair bit of money too,” said Conor.

This is where the Heritage Council special grants clicked in – available to farmers in the GLAS environmental scheme who have old buildings or sheds on their farm with strong links to the past.

The grants – up to 75% of the overall cost and with a ceiling of €25,000 – have enabled many farmers to ‘face into’ the prospect of ‘doing up’ an old shed or outhouse that in the past might have been wiped out with the belt of a machine bucket.

Back the years, the Deelys’ old buildings – located on the R348 New Inn to Kilconnell Road – had served many purposes such as animal housing, grain and wool storage, as well as a place to keep small pieces of farm machinery and tools. There was a place for a fire too, possibly for boiling spuds and grain for the pigs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Dara takes Young Farmer award in a first for Galway

Francis Farragher

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Somewhere under the rainbow: Dara Killeen with his trophy for winning the 2020 Macra Young Farmer of the Year pictured on his farm with his parents, Charlie and Mary; fiancée Beatrix and daughter Isabella.

WHILE it mightn’t have been a good weekend for Galway on the All-Ireland hurling trail, a first ever national title did make its way west last week.

Dara Killeen (31), from Meelick on the banks of the Shannon, took the prestigious FBD-Macra Young Farmer of the Year award for 2020, putting Galway’s name on the cup for the first time since the awards began in 1999.

Son of well-known farmer and lifetime agri campaigner, Charlie Killeen, and his wife Mary, Dara is only in his second year of dairying, where he milks 150 cows on their 300-acre holding along the Shannon in East Galway.

“Traditionally, we always had been sheep and beef farmers, but back in 2017 the big decision was made to go into dairying.

“We brought in our own Jersey X calves, put them in-calf, and established the herd from there. We went for the Jersey crosses on the basis of their high butter fat and protein milk,” Dara told the Farming Tribune.

Moving from drystock to dairy farming is a huge decision for any young farmer but on a long-term basis, Dara felt that dairying offered the best chance of making a decent living from the land.

“It is a huge investment to make, both in terms of the herd and in the construction costs of the milking parlour, that was financed by selling off our existing stock and also with the help of TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme) grants,” said Dara.

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.

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

New design aims to take the backache from those last scoops in feed bin

Francis Farragher

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Michael and Brenda Egan with their new ‘Tipsy Bin’ – designed to make life easier ‘on the back’ for farmers.

IT can be the bane of many farmers’ lives in their yard as they try to extract the last buckets of meal from their bin leading to one big stretch and at times a stretched back too.

Now, a Glenamaddy entrepreneur is fully confident that he has ‘cracked the problem’ after designing a meal bin that neatly leans over on a bevel to take the ache out of that final clean out.

A couple of years back while out on his brother’s farm, Michael Egan, noticed how awkward it was ‘to get to the bottom of the bin’ and in one of those Eureka moments he thought that there just ‘had to be a better way’.

An Operations Manager for Kingspan and Rom Plastics before that, Michael set about designing the new bin which also incorporates a flat base and a clever water draining hole to facilitate an easy wash out.

Along with his wife Brenda, they have set up a company called Megafab who are now distributing their new Tipsy Bin to locations around the country but mostly in direct sales to farmers.

“We are aiming to sell directly to farmers and feel that the bin at €299 (including VAT) is quite keenly price with a  small delivery charge, depending on location.

“Initially we had hoped to launch the product in March but then the COVID situation happened so we put it off until October and I’m delighted to say that we’re flying it so far. The bin is very practical and user-friendly,” Michael Egan told the Farming Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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