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Hill farmers seek ‘fair deal’

Francis Farragher

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HILLFarmers

CLOSE on 1,000 hill farmers across the Western Seaboard protested outside the offices of Ministers Simon Coveney and Jimmy Deenihan last Thursday in Dublin over losses they are facing in the gap year of 2014 before the new CAP comes into play in 2015.

The farmers are seeking a roll-over of the Duchas compensation scheme through 2014 and also want the dropping of the ‘collective agreement’ clause for commonage farmers to qualify for the new GLAS environmental scheme.

Farm leaders met with both Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney and Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister, Jimmy Deenihan, in Dublin last week after refusing to leave the offices until they got a commitment for the meeting.

Connacht IFA Region Chairman, Brendan Joyce told the Farming Tribune, that they were seeking the roll-over of the Dúchas scheme to compensate farmers for the environmental measures that they were carrying through in 2014.

“One of the basic principles of getting farmers to put in place various environmental measures was that they would be compensated. Farmers just cannot be left in the lurch through this year without any payments,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that the collective agreement clause for commonage farmers to get into the new GLAS scheme was completely unworkable and needed to be withdrawn immediately.

“This was never in the REPS or AEOS scheme and it is not a requirement of the EU. This is something clearly within the remit of the Ministe to change and we want him to do so immediately,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that they were also seeking a restoration of the €150 per hectare payment rate for the GLAS scheme from its current level of €75 per hectare.

“We have a further meeting with the Minister on July 1 but it is critical that these changes are now made before we submit our final plan to the EU Commission on July 26.

“These changes require a relatively small amount of money to implement but they will have major implications for hill farmers, and other farmers in restricted areas, over the coming five to six years,” said Brendan Joyce.

Connacht IFA Chairman, Tom Turley said that farmers in areas like the Shannon Callows, the Slieve Aughties and other sensitive regions were also seriously affected by environmental restrictions.

“The whole principle agreed a number of years back was that where farmers were caught up by environmental restrictions they would receive adequate annual compensation.

“This is a very basic principle of the whole EU strategy in environmentally sensitive areas and must be followed through on by the Irish Government,” said Tom Turley.

Connacht Tribune

Don’t ignore Covid signs

Francis Farragher

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Pat Murphy: If you feel unwell, take it handy.

FARMERS who feel a bit ‘under-the-weather’ health wise these times – whether it be Covid related or with colds or flus – have been advised ‘to take things a bit handier’ if they can at all.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy – who last week revealed in the Farming Tribune that he was recovering from Covid – said that farmers ‘not feeling that well’ needed to take it easy for a few days and to contact their GP if they had any health concerns.

“I was probably one of the lucky ones, in terms of the symptoms that I had being not too severe, but everyone is not that lucky – and remember this is something that can happen to anyone.

“What I would advise is to get yourself checked out if you have any health concerns or don’t feel well – then ‘take it handy’ in terms of resting and cutting down on your workload.

“The other key thing – and especially so for farmers coming into the calving or lambing season – is to have a contingency plan in place just in case you do get sick.

“In all probability, this will involve talking to one or two of your neighbouring farmers, and working out an arrangement to help each other, in the event of one of the parties falling ill.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

New TAMS tranche must include farmers left out of previous applications

Francis Farragher

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TAMS: New tranche has been rolled out.

FARMERS seeking grant aid under TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme), who had been turned down in previous applications, must now be included in the new tranche (21), confirmed last week by the Minister for Agriculture, according to IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins.

He said, that in the past, unsuccessful applicants had been carried forward to subsequent tranches, leaving them in ‘an uncertain situation concerning their investments’.

“All Tranche 20 applicants, including the applicants carried over from previous tranches, must receive approval without delay. IFA is urging the Minister to ensure that the delays in previous tranches are addressed.

“The problem of approvals will continue unless the carryover fixed. This issue must be rectified to avoid on-farm investment plans stalling,” said Michael Biggins.

Last week, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, confirmed that from Saturday last, January 16, Tranche 21 of TAMS had reopened.

“TAMS  has been hugely successful to date with over €265m in grant aid paid out and I would encourage all existing applicants with approvals to submit their payment claims as soon as they are complete,” said the MInister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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

Family member can’t build house on home farm

Dara Bradley

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AN attempt by a farmer’s daughter to build a modest one-off house on rural land on the outskirts of the city has been knocked back.

An Bórd Pleanála (ABP) upheld a decision by Galway City Council to refuse planning permission to build a family home in Briarhill, on a site five kilometres east of the city.

The applicant Amy Molloy had been refused planning permission by the City Council for a four-bedroom, two-storey, one-off house at her father’s site at Coolagh, which has been in the family for seven generations.

In the appeal to ABP, the applicant argued that the City Development Plan “was never envisaged to preclude the seventh generation of a family from obtaining planning permission on their own lands”.

She said that this proposed development was “the only opportunity . . . to secure a mortgage”.

It complied with the Development Plan and the Local Area Plan, and was in keeping with existing dwellings in the area, she argued.

“The blanket exclusion from granting one-off housing would be contrary to proper planning and would be an infringement on the constitutional property rights for the landowner. This is an exceptional case and should be treated as such,” the appeal read.

The site is currently zoned ‘A’ Agricultural, which allows for residential development where a convincing need is established by immediate family members of the owners of the site, residing in the immediate area.

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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