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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

Fair Deal reached as Bill is enacted

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Maura Canning: Good day expected.
Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson

RELIEF has been expressed this week in farming and political circles that at last the Fair Deal Nursing Home legislations changes have been passed by the Oireachtas.

The Bill went through the Dáil last Thursday and the Seanad on Friday, bringing to a conclusion a campaign that started back in 2012.

Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson, told the Farming Tribune there was a great sense of relief that a nine-year long campaign had at last got over the line.

“It has been such a long and difficult campaign to secure this deal with a lot of complications and obstacles along the way. At times, we seemed to be almost there, until something happened to hold up the process, but there really was a great sense of relief last Friday when the Bill at last passed through its final stages,” said Maura Canning.

She paid a particular to former Minister of State, Jim Daly; the current incumbent Mary Butler; and also to the many TDs and Senators that had been lobbied over the years on the issue. “No TD ever failed to return a call,” she said.

The key change in the new Bill is that there will be a three-year cap on the 7.5% annual contribution of the overall value of the farm where the farmer or their spouse is in a nursing home. There are a number of conditions attached to this CAP, the most significant of which is the fact that the farm must be signed over fully to the inheritor for a five-year period and this person must also continue farming on the land.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Stay safe on the farm

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GALWAY farmers have again been reminded during Farm Safety Week to ‘stop, think and slow down’ as they go about their work during the busy Summer season – and indeed for the rest of the year as well.

Roy O’Brien, Galway/Mayo IFA Regional Executive, told the Farming Tribune that too many farm families had been impacted upon by fatalities or life-changing injuries over recent years.

“In their daily work, farmers have to be a bit of everything from a vet to a mechanic to a driver of heavy machinery and often these tasks have to be carried out with no one else around.

“I think that this change of duties represents one of the big challenges to farmers in terms of their own health and safety. Every day can bring a new job and a new safety challenge,” said Roy O’Brien.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said it was shocking to think that between 2011 and 2020, 21 children had lost their lives in farm accidents across the country.

“While children look forward to being home on the farm for the Summer, now is an important time to have conversations about safety.

“Tell them about the dangers and set the rules but don’t expect a child to take on the responsibility of keeping themselves safe. Children do not understand risk,” said Anne Mitchell.

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

Top ten steps to reduce GHGs

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Suckler herds: The longer they can be kept out to grass, the better it is for reducing emissions.

TEAGASC has outlined a 10-step programme to help beef farmers reduce their carbon footprint over the coming years as part of agriculture’s contribution to the cutting of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Martina Harrington, Teagasc Beef Specialist, has outlined that 68% of all agricultural GHG emissions in Ireland are methane based while almost all the rest are nitrous oxide – less than 3% are carbon dioxide.

She explained in the latest edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm, that methane is a by-product of the digestive system of animals while nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas caused by the breakdown of nitrogen.

In terms of methane reductions, Martina Harrington, recommends more efficient suckler cows; better daily weight gains from calves; the possible use of feed additives; and an extension of the grazing season to reduce slurry volumes.

As regards nitrous oxide, she recommends a reduction in the amount of synthetic fertiliser to be applied by improving soil fertility, especially in relation to soil pH levels [liming].

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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