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Killing fields haunt Irish farm families

Francis Farragher

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Joe Clancy, Gortreevagh, Oughterard, with his son Joseph, and their second prizewinner, Western Heavenly Breeze, at the Charolais Christmas Cracker sale in Elphin. She sold for €4,100, the same price as he got for another similar type heifer at the sale.

A HORROR year on Irish farms – that has so far claimed the lives of 28 people – has prompted the launch of another safety appeal at local and national level.

IFA leaders are hoping that farmers – across all types and age groups – will approach every day’s work with safety to the forefront of their minds.

The latest IFA drive on safety is delivered in their 2015 calendar contained in last week’s Farmers Journal and in special pens with the acronym of: SAVE LIVES.

Maura Canning, National IFA Farm Family Chairperson, told the Farming Tribune that while there were indications of prosecutions being stepped for some farm safety offences, the safety drive had to come from farmers themselves.

“Some farmers are just taking too many chances and all anyone has to do is to look at the farm fatality figures for this year alone.

“It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the number of farm fatalities for this year come close to the 30 mark – there are now families left behind who will be scarred forever,” said Maura Canning.

She added that every farmer who went out into his farm or farmyard had to factor in safety and to bear in mind the risks involved, whether they be machinery, animals, tanks, roofs or just untidy farmyards.

Farm deaths had dipped to 16 in 2013, from a figure of 21 each, for the previous two years. This year’s increase has occurred against a background of national campaigns aimed at cutting drastically the fatality rate on Irish farms.

The latest SAVE LIVES acronym gives the following guidelines:

S: Stress distracts – stay focused at the job in hand.

A: Apply the tractor handbrake anytime you leave cab.

V: Ventilate and evacuate when agitating slurry.

E: Ensure a roof can support your weight.

L: Loose clothes can get caught in machinery.

I: Icy roads and pathways can be dangerous: slow down.

V: Visitors on the farm especially children need care.

E: Escape routes should be planned when handling cattle.

S: Switch on the light – hidden objects can be dangerous.

Connacht Tribune

Call for a policy review as TB figures shoot up

Francis Farragher

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Stephen Canavan: Farmers paying the price for TB failings.

THE Dept. of Agriculture must take a fundamental look at where things are going wrong with their bovine TB (bTB) eradication scheme, following the publication of the latest figure showing another increase in the spread of the disease.

Galway IFA Animal Health Committee Chairman, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that the latest figures released by the Department were alarming, showing a major increase in the incidence of the disease in the first six months of 2020 as compared to the same period last year.

For the first six months of 2020, there were 9,439 reactors were identified in the Republic of Ireland, up 2,350 as compared to the same period last year – an increase of 33%.

Parts of Galway continue to be hard hit by disease most notably in a strip of the county from the Mayo/Roscommon border to south of Athenry – and in a strip of South Galway extending through central Clare.

“TB outbreaks have been very bad news for many farmers across Galway and especially suckler farmers who find their herds locked up for long periods of time.

“Farmers are doing everything that’s being asked of them but the time has come for the Department to have a fundamental look at what’s going wrong.

“They have to have a look again at their policy on wildlife and its role in the spread of the disease. Their strategy is simply not working and farmers are paying the price in the hardship and financial cost of having herds locked up,” said Stephen Canavan.

He also said that there was a need to review the level of compensation being paid to farmers for reactors while there were ongoing laboratory delays in giving final confirmations of whether an animal had TB or not.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

New REPS is key to survival

Francis Farragher

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Pictured is IFA President Tim Cullinan in Connemara with the 12 Pins in the background along with Gerry Gunning, Executive Secretary IFA Hill Committee; Pat Murphy, Connacht IFA Chairman; Caillin Conneely, Chairman Connemara IFA; Anne Mitchell, Chairperson Galway IFA; Flor McCarthy, National Chairman, IFA Hill Committee; Tim Cullinan; Eamon Nee, Galway IFA Hill Committee Chairman; Michael Biggins, IFA National Chairman Rural Development Committee; Martin Mannion, Connemara IFA and Rose Mary McDonagh, National Chairperson IFA Farm Business Committee.

A MEANINGFUL environmental scheme to replace GLAS – with the maximum payment doubling to €10,000 – is a main priority of the IFA, the Association’s President, Tim Cullinan told farmers on a visit to the West earlier this month

He said that such a scheme must recognise the contribution farmers make to protecting the environment and the provision of public good.

The IFA President said that further SAC designations were unacceptable and he called on the new Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan to immediately clarify the position of the National Parks and Wildlife service.

“Farm incomes are under serious pressure and the value of direct payments are vital to the survival of farming in peripheral areas. Supports to farm income alongside production is what hill farmers need,” he said.

“It is only through a combination of cattle and sheep production, direct payments and a strong environmental scheme in the forthcoming CAP negotiations that this will be achieved.

“Hill sheep production is the main enterprise among the 30,000 farmers who farm and protect the environment in hill and mountain grazing areas,” said Tim Cullinan.

He also warned that the impact of a no-deal Brexit would be felt on all farms and particularly the most vulnerable ones such as in mountain and hill areas. The IFA were now seeking Government commitments on the following five issues:

■ A meaningful environmental scheme to replace GLAS with the maximum payment doubling to €10,000.

■ The new REPS scheme promised in the Programme for Government must be added to any CAP agri-environmental scheme and must reward farmers for sequestering carbon.

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 farm safety video gets 200,000 hits in first month

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Machinery continues to be the big killer on Irish farms.

A NEW farm safety video launched earlier last month has already attracted 200,000 hits as the message continues to be driven home about the loss of life on Irish farms.

Director of Embrace FARM, Peter Gohery, told the Farming Tribune that the #SpeakUp for #FarmSafety was another important step along the way in increasing awareness of the dangers lurking on every farm.

“This video stemmed from the experiences of five young lads going to Nenagh CBS who had been touched in some way by farm accidents. It’s very well done and gets the message across about reducing risks on Irish farms.

“The fact that the video comes from young lads of this age group also means that it will reach a large young audience and they are a vital cohort of people to get through to on the whole issue of farm safety,” said Peter Gohery.

The Eyrecourt farmer – himself involved in a farm accident that led to a leg amputation – said that while some of the video might be ‘tough watching’ it got the message out there about the consequences of farm accidents.

With Farm Safety Week 2020 continuing on until this Friday, the video production as well as involving the AgriKids group also has an input from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the IFA, Embrace FARM and An Garda Síochána.

One of the main points being made in the video is the need for the public to ‘speak up’ if they witness any unsafe behaviour on Irish farms that has the potential to cause death or injury. Such concerns can be emailed onto: hsa.ie/complaint.

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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