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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

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

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.

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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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Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

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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