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Hill farmer picket at Enda’s office to continue

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Little Alison Walsh, throws a very cautious eye on the champion Texel ewe being shown by her father Thomas, at the Oughterard Show last weekend. PHOTO: TOM BRODERICK.

DISGRUNTLED western hill farmers have this week staged a picket at the Castlebar Office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny ‘for as long as it takes’ to bring about changes to the new CAP proposals that are due to click in over the coming months.

At the heart of the controversy for the hill farmers is the stipulation that there must be a 50% agreement level among active commonage farmers for inclusion in the new GLAS environmental scheme.

Connemara IFA Regional Chairman, Brendan Joyce, told the Farming Tribune that the picket on the Taoiseach’s Castlebar Office would continue until basic and reasonable demands put forward by the hill farmers were met.

He also stressed that the ‘sticking points’ for hill farmers were not just in relation to the GLAS scheme saying that they also had implication for the Single Farm Payment.

“We had 1,700 farmers turning out for a meeting in Westport last month and this shows the importance, and the depth of feeling, that’s out there on these issues.

“In terms of the Commonage Framework Plan we have no problem in putting certain measures in place but these must be done over the course of the GLAS plan, but they mustn’t be used to prevent people getting into GLAS in the first place,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that even from a practical point of view there just wouldn’t be enough planners to deal with the level of applications from the hill/commonage farmers to get into the GLAS scheme.

“This 50% collective agreement clause is not being sought by Europe and is something brought in by the Minister that can be removed. Farmers who want to get into the GLAS scheme cannot be held back by such a measure,” said Brendan Joyce.

Hill farmers also want the minimum/maximum stocking requirements to be addressed with a minimum stocking rate of 0.05 livestock units per hectare put in place – this equates to one ewe per three hectares of land.

Over recent weeks the hill/commonage issue has led to a major rift developing between the hill farmers and the senior IFA hierarchy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Cattle trade still going strong

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Micheál Haverty: Strong demand fuelling market.

A BUOYANT cattle trade looks set to continue through the Summer with marts reporting a very strong demand for stock – and especially so for quality animals ‘up the weights’.

With demand outweighing supply in key markets such as the UK, EU and China, cattle prices are expected to harden even further over the coming weeks.

Factory prices for steers and heifers are coming in at the meat plants this week at between €4.20 to €4.30 per kg as the factories are finding it difficult to source cattle to meet customer orders.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Representative, Micheál Haverty, said that while the market situation for both cattle and sheep was quite encouraging, it needed to be, given the increase in input costs.

“There have been significant increases in price for fertiliser, fuel – and especially meal – which has taken a real hike.

“But at least with prices having increased for livestock, farmers will be in a position to meet those extra costs but margins are still very tight,” said Micheál Haverty.

Another encouraging sign, he said, was that prices had ‘hardened’ for cattle even before the latest lifting of restrictions relating to the coronavirus.

“Having said that, we are delighted to see the restaurant, hospitality and catering trade coming back to some sort of normality here at home.

“We know that there is a huge demand for locally produced, high-quality beef and lamb – the re-opening of this sector will also be a boost for competition,” said Micheál Haverty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Miracle of the lost sheep in heart of Connemara

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Five of the Cladoirs at the National Park in Letterfrack.

AN extinct breed of sheep – written off as not hardy enough for the challenging Connemara landscape – has now officially re-emerged after a quarter of a century on the missing list!

The Cladoir species were native to Connemara, but post-Famine they were pushed out to the margins – literally to the water’s edge on the west coast – as other breeds found favour with farmers and land owners.

In fact their name, Cladoir, translates as shore dweller, and in their prime, they were kept mainly for their long wool, as opposed to their meat, before the Famine.

But in the 1850s, British breeds were introduced to the mountains, where they thrived, pushing native Cladoir sheep towards south Connemara. They survived around the coast in small numbers.

An agricultural researcher studied them at a research station in Maam in the 1980s, but the small flock was dispersed after he retired. The breed was deemed effectively extinct in 1995.

However, retired agricultural adviser Seán Cadden and Tom King, a farmer from Westport, were enchanted by the Cladoir story and made enquiries in South Connemara about the sheep.

They managed to assemble a small flock of Cladoir-like sheep, which were then purchased by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. A number of other Cladoir-like sheep were also purchased by the National Park last year.

Last autumn, 65 sheep from this flock were sampled for a DNA test; 56 of those including males and females had significant DNA of a distinct breed – the Cladoir DNA.

Their return from oblivion was officially recognised at the weekend when Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, visited Connemara National Park on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Locals thanked for demo backing

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Anne Mitchell: Great local support.

GALWAY IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, has thanked the people of Athenry and surrounding areas for their support during Friday’s Action Day protest.

She told the Farming Tribune that the demonstration was planned to cause ‘absolute minimal disruption’ to the people, schools and businesses of the town as well as being conscious of Covid restrictions.

“We really didn’t want anyone on the streets because of the Covid situation and we also advised that where there was more than one person in a vehicle, and not from the same household, that they would wear masks,” said Anne Mitchell.

She said that they were also acutely aware of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations were going on in schools around the town which dictated their decision to stage the protest between 11am and 12 noon.

However, one concerned parent who contacted this newspaper, said that the honking of horns could be heard by those who were doing their Leaving Cert geography exam on Friday.

“While I do understand the reasons behind the protest, I just think that the honking of horns should have been left out it, while an exam was in progress,” he said.

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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