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

Francis Farragher

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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

New design aims to take the backache from those last scoops in feed bin

Francis Farragher

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Michael and Brenda Egan with their new ‘Tipsy Bin’ – designed to make life easier ‘on the back’ for farmers.

IT can be the bane of many farmers’ lives in their yard as they try to extract the last buckets of meal from their bin leading to one big stretch and at times a stretched back too.

Now, a Glenamaddy entrepreneur is fully confident that he has ‘cracked the problem’ after designing a meal bin that neatly leans over on a bevel to take the ache out of that final clean out.

A couple of years back while out on his brother’s farm, Michael Egan, noticed how awkward it was ‘to get to the bottom of the bin’ and in one of those Eureka moments he thought that there just ‘had to be a better way’.

An Operations Manager for Kingspan and Rom Plastics before that, Michael set about designing the new bin which also incorporates a flat base and a clever water draining hole to facilitate an easy wash out.

Along with his wife Brenda, they have set up a company called Megafab who are now distributing their new Tipsy Bin to locations around the country but mostly in direct sales to farmers.

“We are aiming to sell directly to farmers and feel that the bin at €299 (including VAT) is quite keenly price with a  small delivery charge, depending on location.

“Initially we had hoped to launch the product in March but then the COVID situation happened so we put it off until October and I’m delighted to say that we’re flying it so far. The bin is very practical and user-friendly,” Michael Egan told the Farming Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Organic farmers in West get €1.3m

Francis Farragher

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Pippa Hackett: More money on the way for organic farming.

CLOSE on 70 organic farmers in Galway will be receiving average payments of almost €4,700 under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), the Dept. of Agriculture have confirmed.

Minister of State at the Dept. of Agriculture, Senator Pippa Hackett, confirmed the start of €5.5m worth of OFS payments to 1,200 farmers across the country from Wednesday last.

She said that the advance payments were being made two weeks ahead of schedule, with the success of the scheme being reflected in a 50% increase in organic farming acreage since 2014.

Currently, there are 68 Galway farmers in the OFS scheme who between them will be getting payments of €319,041 this week, an average of €4,691 per participant.

Between the five Connacht counties and Clare, there are now 366 farmers participating in the OFS scheme bringing in total advance payments of just over €1.3m, an average of  €3,500 per participant.

Roscommon has the biggest number of organic farmers in the West with a total figure of 141 participants followed by Galway on 68, Clare and Leitrim 51 each, with Mayo and Sligo having 56 organic farmers split evenly between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

New faces on IFA commodities committee

Francis Farragher

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A NUMBER of new faces will be elected onto the Galway IFA Commodities Committee in a postal vote that will begin next week and be completed by early December.

The most keenly contested position looks like being that of Rural Development representative with three candidates going for the job.

Eamonn Burke, Corrandulla branch, was the outgoing representative, but his term of office ends this month, opening the way for three new nominations.

They are: PJ Conroy, Looscaun, Woodford; Pat Flaherty, Oranmore and Peter Gohery of the Eyrecourt branch.

Rural Development is considered one of the more important positions in that it will be ‘fighting the case’ for the bigger spending areas such as REPS, GLAS and any new environmental scheme.

The other contest is for the position of Grain Representative which had been held by John Daly of Kilconnell, whose term of office is also up.

There are two nomination for this position – Eamonn Burke of Corrandulla and Mervyn Cooke of the Aughrim IFA branch.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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