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Farming

The killing fields

Francis Farragher

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Summertime . . . the busiest of seasons on Irish farms as the silage season peaks.

A FRESH appeal has been made this week by a Galway farm representative to keep safety issues on top of the agenda during the peak summer season, following a shocking litany of deaths this year due to agricultural accidents.

Machinery has now established itself as the ‘big killer’ on Irish farmers accounting for the vast majority of fatalities prompting the IFA and the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) to plea for more safety routines and procedures to be put in place.

Of the 13 farm deaths so far this year, eight of them were machinery related, two were as a result of livestock attacks, another two involved being trapped or crushed while one was as a result of slurry gas suffocation/drowning.

Galway-Mayo IFA Regional Officer, Roy O’Brien, described the carnage on Irish farms so far this year as truly shocking and said that farmers and contractors should put in place a plan for safety routines to be followed.

“We all know that farmers and contractors can be under the most intense pressure this time of the year to get work done, especially in the context of varying weather conditions, but we are asking everyone just to keep thinking safety.

“What does it really matter if silage is a day late, if a family is left bereaved or if someone is left with a serious injury that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Every morning when a farmer wakes up, safety must be the first thing on his mind,” said Roy O’Brien.

He said that the high risk areas were farm machinery, slurry, livestock and the holiday season when schoolgoers were off for the summer.

“One farm death is one too many and if a little bit of time, a little bit of care and a little bit of planning can help to prevent such an occurrence, then it’s surely well worth the effort,” said Roy O’Brien.

Mark Ryan, Press Officer with the HSA, told the Farming Tribune, that while they understood the huge pressures that farmers often had to work under, safety just had to stay at the top of the agenda. He outlined six key safety points for farmers to try and follow:

■ Plan work to make sure it can be done safely.

■ Check machinery and equipment before use.

■ Communicate with family, workers and contractors to make sure that tasks and safeguards are understood.

■ Train persons to operate tractors and machinery and complete jobs safely.

■ Assess and control risks to children and persons with slower reaction times.

■ Do not allow children unsupervised access to the farmyard.

 

Connacht Tribune

Family member can’t build house on home farm

Dara Bradley

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AN attempt by a farmer’s daughter to build a modest one-off house on rural land on the outskirts of the city has been knocked back.

An Bórd Pleanála (ABP) upheld a decision by Galway City Council to refuse planning permission to build a family home in Briarhill, on a site five kilometres east of the city.

The applicant Amy Molloy had been refused planning permission by the City Council for a four-bedroom, two-storey, one-off house at her father’s site at Coolagh, which has been in the family for seven generations.

In the appeal to ABP, the applicant argued that the City Development Plan “was never envisaged to preclude the seventh generation of a family from obtaining planning permission on their own lands”.

She said that this proposed development was “the only opportunity . . . to secure a mortgage”.

It complied with the Development Plan and the Local Area Plan, and was in keeping with existing dwellings in the area, she argued.

“The blanket exclusion from granting one-off housing would be contrary to proper planning and would be an infringement on the constitutional property rights for the landowner. This is an exceptional case and should be treated as such,” the appeal read.

The site is currently zoned ‘A’ Agricultural, which allows for residential development where a convincing need is established by immediate family members of the owners of the site, residing in the immediate area.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Leniency is sought on BEAM reduction

Francis Farragher

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Stephen Canavan: Leniency sought on BEAM cut.

AS marts edge back into online sales this week, there have been calls for Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, to show some ‘leniency and flexibility’ as regards the 5% nitrogen reduction target in the BEAM scheme.

Chairman of Tuam Livestock Mart, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that many farmers found themselves in serious difficulty with the 5% reduction clause, and especially so now with the return of Level-5 Covid restrictions.

“We are now halfway through the reference year but with livestock sales so restricted due to Covid regulations – and with January always being a very quiet month at the marts – I am calling on the Minister to show some leniency towards farmers as regards this scheme,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that some suckler farmers who had taken part in the scheme could now be facing into significant reductions in their herds after being ‘caught out’ with the 5% nitrogen reduction [stock numbers] clause.

“I think that it goes without saying that the scheme was badly thought out initially – and this 5% nitrogen reduction clause should never have been introduced – but even at this late stage some leniency would be a big help.

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

Don’t ignore COVID Threat

Francis Farragher

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Pat Murphy: Family had an unwelcome New Year’s visitor.

CONNACHT IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, who tested positive for COVID-19 over the New Year period, has advised farmers and their families to be very much aware of how unexpectedly the virus can strike.

He told the Farming Tribune that in the run-up to the New Year, he was complaining of a ‘sore back and a bit of a cold’ but never suspected that he had the coronavirus.

“As a family, if you have the coronavirus, it certainly makes an awful difference to your everyday lives. Self-isolating in a room is a curtailment of your freedom that is difficult to get used to,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that his symptoms were not severe but that he had been warned to be especially wary if he encountered any periods of breathlessness, especially from days 6 to 8 of the infection.

A non-drinker who had hardly been out at all over the holiday period, he was initially a bit shocked to be diagnosed with the virus on New Year’s Day, and he has advised farmers just ‘to be aware’ if they have any symptoms. Pat’s wife Anna, a healthcare worker, has also tested positive for coronavirus, which has made for very different times in the Murphy household in Ardrahan.

“We might all be inclined to think that ‘we won’t get it’ but I think that over the past week, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that the virus has spread across communities. I think what’s really important for everyone is to be aware that this virus spreads very easily and to check it out if they’re not feeling well.

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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