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Hill rules on GLAS not driven by Brussels

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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

Ballinasloe to celebrate 300-years of fairs

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Niall Clarke, Kevin Murray, Sinead Manning, Thomas Gullane, Maeve Keegan, Kieran Egan, Ciara Croffey, Mary Phelan & Mal Croffey at the launch of the Ballinasloe Fair & Festival 2022.

THREE hundred years of horse fairs in Ballinasloe will be celebrated this coming weekend when the event returns following the Covid interruption of recent years.

The main equestrian days of the show are on this coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday with the Fairgreen being the place to be this weekend with every breed of horse and pony on display.

Connemaras, Trotting Ponies and Irish Draughts will all be featuring but apart from the horses, there’s also a full line-up of entertainment events.

Fun events, street stalls, fireworks, tug-o-war, street and vintage parades, arts and crafts, music and children’s events will all feature strongly over the weekend and into next week.

The fair is expected to attract in the region of 85,000 visitors from October 2 to 9, for an event that dates back to the early 1700s.

According to the fair organisers, while there is little detail available about the early days of the fair, the London Times reported in the late 1700s that the fair sold over 65,000 sheep and 6,500 cattle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Huge cow cull could be in the pipeline

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Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy

WESTERN farm leaders have expressed alarm at reports that the Government could be considering a massive cull of the suckler cow herd to meet climate change targets over the coming years.

The reports are based on documents released to the Irish Times newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act outlining the possibility of introducing a €2 billion farm retirement package to achieve the culling targets.

According to the documents, the reduction target in the suckler herd would be 700,000 (70% of the national herd) with 300,000 dairy cows also to be culled.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, said that such reports which were obviously based on Dept. of Agriculture documents were extremely worrying for all farmers across the country but especially so for the West of Ireland.

“We don’t have the land in the West of Ireland that can support extensive grain farms or dairy enterprises. There are issues with land quality and fragmented holdings which means that many parts of the region are only suited to mixed cattle and sheep enterprises,” said Pat Murphy.

He added that the most galling aspect of all the talk of cuts in the national herd, was that huge beef producing countries like Brazil would immediately fill any gap in the market resulting from a reduction in the Irish national herd.

“We are very small players in the world market, and even if the most extreme measures as regards culling were put in place across Ireland, it wouldn’t make one iota of a difference to the overall  world emissions from agriculture.

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

Changes agreed on TB testing regime

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Stephen Canavan: Six months test proposal is not on!
Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan

A PROPOSED six-months testing requirement for all bovine animals moving herds will now only apply to cows and males over 36-months old, following discussions over recent weeks between the Dept. of Agriculture and the IFA.

Initially it had been proposed by the Department that the six-months testing regime would be in place for all animals from next year, but the ‘age compromise’ has now been agreed.

However, another major issue now needs to be resolved as to who will pay for a second test when it comes to the sale of the older animals through the marts or from herd to herd.

According to Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, the compromise deal on the six-months testing requirement for the older animals – ‘while not ideal’ – was the best that could be achieved.

“The vast majority of mart sales or sales between farmers will involve animals which are under 36 months of age so at least some progress has been made on that issue.

“Now, the negotiations will switch to the issue of who will pay for any of the six-months tests where they apply, and the IFA are taking a very strong line on this.

“The agreement on payment always has been that farmers will only have to pay for one test per year and we will be insisting that this extends onto any seller who has to have a six-months’ test,” said Stephen Canavan.

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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