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Hill rules on GLAS not driven by Brussels

Francis Farragher

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West Galway Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne addressing last week's public meeting in Peacocke's of Maam Cross on the hill farming/commonage issues. Also pictured are Colm O'Donnell, Sligo hill farmer; Brendan Joyce, meeting chairman and Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív.

A MASSIVE turnout of over 1,000 farmers at Maam Cross last week has given a clear mandate to the leadership of the hill/commonage pressure group to redouble their efforts for changes to be made in the proposed arrangements, it was claimed this week.

Brendan Joyce, who chaired last Thursday night’s meeting in Peacocke’s Hotel, told the Farming Tribune, it was now becoming clear that restrictions being imposed on the hill farmers were not being driven by Brussels, but by the national Government.

“We are quite satisifed that MEP Marian Harkin has established that requirements being sought by our own Government from hill/commonage farmers are not being sought by Brussels,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that there would be no problem whatsoever at EU level with the Department taking ownership of the overall commonage plan, that should be a reference document rather than a joint application.

“What we have been presented with does not offer the flexibility that’s needed by hill sheep farmers. The Agricultural Consultants Association have also made it clear that the Department need to take ownership of the plan,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that the turnout at last week’s meeting in Maam Cross was a reflection of the depth of feeling that existed among hill and commonage farmers across the country.

“We had farmers at last Thursday night’s meeting from Donegal, Sligo, Dingle and Waterford. There’s a short window now for the Minister to make the necessary changes, before the plan goes back to Europe,” said Brendan Joyce.

Earlier this month, a delegation of Irish hill farmers met with senior officials of the EU Commission in Brussels on the hill/commonage issue. After the meeting, MEP Marian Harkin said that the flexibility was there for the Irish Minister for Agriculture to make the necessary changes.

“The Dept. of Agriculture is unnecessarily imposing conditions on the participation of hill and commonage farmers in the new EU supported GLAS Scheme.

“What has emerged clearly from the EU is that Ireland’s Dept. of Agriculture is attempting to impose regulations in an inflexible way which is not required by the European Commission,” said Marian Harkin.

She added that the result of this was that commonage farmers were the only producers in Ireland being denied the right to apply as individuals to participate in the new agricultural environment GLAS Scheme, Marian Harkin said.

 

Connacht Tribune

Locals thanked for demo backing

Francis Farragher

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry’s action day a wake-up call for the West

Francis Farragher

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The tractorcade is ready to roll in Athenry on Friday in the IFA protest over farm viability and the Climate Action Bill.

AN estimated ‘200 plus’ tractors, cars and jeeps took part in Friday’s IFA ‘Action Day’ protest in Athenry aimed at highlighting major problems coming down the track with the ‘new CAP’ and the Climate Action Bill.

Connacht IFA Chairperson, Pat Murphy, said that they were delighted with the turnout and also with the positive reception they received from the people of Athenry.

“If farming and agriculture go to the wall in rural Ireland it will sound the death-knell for our provincial and villages too.

“We really do need our politicians to wake up to the fact that decisions made over the coming weeks or months could decide the future of rural Ireland as we know it,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that an agenda being driven by the Green Party to drastically reduce the numbers of suckler cows, dairy cows and cattle across Ireland would have a catastrophic impact on Irish agriculture, unless amendments were made to the Climate Action Bill.

“If Irish farmers are prevented in producing the food that’s accepted as being probably the most environmentally friendly and traceable product across the world, then that gap will be filled by countries like Brazil where rain forests are being cut down every single day of the year,” said Pat Murphy.

He also said that the negotiations on CAP coming up at the end of this month would also have huge implications for farming and especially so in the West of Ireland where farms were so dependent on direct payments.

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

Minister outlines ‘tough road ahead’

Francis Farragher

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Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue

A CRITICAL part of the eventual CAP deal for farmers will rest with the flexibility of the Irish Government to make its own decisions on where the money will be allocated, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, told the Farming Tribune last week.

During a whistle-stop tour of a number of agri-related projects in Galway last Thursday, Minister McConalogue said that as things stood, the major stumbling block to an agreement was the European Parliament.

“There are really two aspects of this deal which will be of vital importance to Irish farmers over the coming years – the flexibility to make our own decisions and the percentage of the funding to be spent on ECO schemes,” said Charlie McConalogue.

He said that while some progress had been made at the end of last month’s Trilogue negotiations [EU Commission, Council and European Parliament], it had not been possible to reach an agreement.

“As things stand, what’s blocking a final agreement is the European Parliament part of that Trilogue. We are trying to reach compromises on the issue of convergence, and the ECO scheme element of the payments, but this hasn’t been possible with the parliament so far,” said the Minister.

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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