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

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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

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

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

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

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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