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IFA branch refuses to vote in elections over West’s neglect

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AN IFA branch close to the villages of Dunmore and Williamstown, has the unusual distinction this week as being the only one in the country not to vote in the IFA presidential election.

The Granlahan branch – affiliated to Roscommon IFA – took the ‘no vote’ decision in protest over what they regard as the failure of the IFA to stand up for the rights of small farmers across the West of Ireland.

A securing of the ‘big payments’ for farmers in the east and south of the country during this year’s CAP reform negotiations, has prompted the branch to ‘call a halt’ on the status quo of ‘only the big farmers’ being looked after by the IFA.

At their AGM at the beginning of December, the Granlahan branch voted not to register a vote in the presidential elections over the treatment meted out to smaller farmers in the West of Ireland.

However the branch then received a letter from IFA administration that a meeting was being called of the branch to vote in the elections.

At that second meeting last week, only four of those in attendance registered to vote in the election – four short of the eight required under the rules of the association for a valid vote.

“Make no mistake about it – the IFA have made it quite clear during the summer that their priority was to protect the larger payments of the bigger farmers.

“We still feel that there is room for negotiation to ensure a fairer share-out of the Single Payment money or otherwise a whole way of farming life will be lost to the West of Ireland,” said Gerry Coffey, who had been secretary of the Granlahan branch up until their recent AGM.

He stressed that this was no ‘crank protest’ from a small group of people, citing the huge number of phone calls that had been taken on the issue by Mid West Radio, when it covered the story recently.

“We are here to talk and we want to try and move this situation on. But the time has come for the smaller farmers in the West of Ireland to realise – that as things stand – their interests are not just being looked after by the IFA at top levels in Dublin.

“We actually have a lot of sympathy for our county and regional representatives who are trying to get this message across in Dublin but they’re just not being listened to by the people in the IFA who hold the real power,” said Gerry Coffey.

A former Mayo IFA Chairman – Michael Holmes – has also joined in the protest over the failure of the IFA to secure a better deal for the smaller farmers in the West of Ireland, saying that discontent with the association in the region was greater than some people might like to believe.

It is understood that 12 branches representing over 800 members in the western region have sent a letter of complaint to outgoing IFA President, John Bryan, over the issue of western farmers not being adequately represented by the IFA.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

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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