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Minister ‘gives assurance’ on ring-fencing of Leader funds

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BY FRANCIS FARRAGHER

IFA Connacht Vice-President, Padraic Divilly said that he has received assurances from Environment Minister Phil Hogan, that County Managers will not be allowed to ‘dip into’ Leader funding to fill financial holes in local authority budgets.

Mr. Divilly said that he got assurances from Minister Hogan that Leader funding would be ‘ring fenced’ in the next programme for exclusive use for rural development initiatives.

He said the 5% allocation of Rural Development funds to Leader in the next EU Rural Development programme must be matched 50/50 by the Government.  Leader must also be allowed get support from other EU funds such as the Regional and Social Fund, added Mr. Divilly.

“We also pointed out to the Minister concerns in relation to the establishment of socio-economic committees in each county under his alignment proposals.  We told Minister Hogan that the structure must have a majority of community and local organisations and the Chairman of the SEC should be elected by the total group, not chosen by the local authority or the County Manager.

“In relation to the peripheral areas, IFA stressed serious concern that in the new structure these areas will be neglected.  IFA put forward the view that flexibility must be shown in relation to how local development initiatives are delivered as otherwise weak rural areas will become further disadvantaged.

“Currently local development companies deliver vital programmes to rural areas such as the Rural Social Scheme, the Walks Scheme and project support.  Any diminution in these programmes will impact negatively on low income farm families,” said Padraic Divilly.

 On the recent reallocation of Leader funds, the IFA also expressed concern to Minister Hogan that Leader companies in disadvantaged areas had lost out because of the lack of private matching finance. 

They pointed out that while 43% of Leader funding in the current Rural Development Programme has been used up, it was important that every effort is made to ensure that by year-end that there was maximum uptake involving higher grants being provided to Leader companies in disadvantaged areas.

In relation to the Walks Scheme, IFA have proposed that the current scheme is extended to a further 40 walks with additional funding of €2m.  Already 2,000 farmers benefit from this scheme and walks have a huge economic impact in the areas where they are located.

 

Connacht Tribune

Tractor run will remember a local legend

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Some members of the 10-person organising committee for the PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run that takes place in Ardrahan on Sunday, December 11. (Left to right): Anthony Whelan, Brian Kilkelly, Declan Sylver, Patrick Mahoney and Aonghusa Fahy. Absent from the photo are: Mary Forde, Lena Taylor, Conor O’Dea, Gerald Harney and Mícheál Kelly.

THE PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run will take place on Sunday, December 11, in memory of a very well-known and highly regarded figure within the Ardrahan and South Galway local community, who passed away just a year ago this month.

PJ Mahoney was steeped in farming and the GAA and for this he was known far and wide. He was a talisman for Ardrahan GAA, playing in goals for the senior hurling team when they won county hurling titles in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

All down through the years, he was a most dedicated and guiding servant to the club up until his untimely death in a road accident last year.

PJ farmed locally throughout his life and was well known as an agricultural contractor in both Galway and North Clare, a business carried on by his son Patrick.

There are many tales and anecdotes of PJ Mahoney that still bring a smile to the faces of those recalling them.

He was a keystone in the local community, the neighbour you could always call on, and indeed the neighbour that didn’t need to be called upon as he would turn up to help regardless.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

More info needed in land rezoning changes

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Albert Dolan: Start building houses for our young people.

A BIGGER effort needs to be put in by local authorities to notify farmers close to towns and villages – whose land is zoned as residential – according to a number of councillors at this week’s meeting of Galway County Council.

Independent councillor for the Athenry-Oranmore electoral area,  Jim Cuddy, told Monday’s meeting at County Hall that landowners should be written to by the Council to inform them if they had land zoned as residential.

“They should at least be informed that their land has been zoned as residential and will be liable for tax [3% of value]. Some of those people just don’t know if their land has been zoned as residential – they’re just hearing rumours,” said Cllr. Cuddy.

According to Cllr. Pete Roche (FG) there was an onus on the Council to get the information ‘out there’ about zoned land through the various media outlets. However, Cllr. Michael Connolly (FF) said that the issue of land zoning and tax was a decision taken by central government.

“This is national legislation – the local authority can’t be taking this on – we can’t be carrying the can for central government,” added Cllr. Connolly.

Cllr. Albert Dolan (FF) said that young people like himself ‘had damn all chance of buying a house’, adding that this tax wouldn’t be coming into force until 2024. “We need to start building houses for our young people,” he added.

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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Connacht Tribune

Galway is top of the table for payments in GLAS

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Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan

GALWAY tops the league both in terms of payment total and farming numbers for the GLAS environmental scheme, the latest figures from the Dept. of Agriculture reveal.

Almost €13.7 million is being paid out in the 2022 Advance GLAS Payments to 3,951 farmers in Galway – averaging out at nearly €3,500 per farmer.

Mayo comes second on the payments list with over €12.4m being paid out to 3,683 farmers – equating to an average payment of just under €3,400 per applicant.

The importance of GLAS payments to the western seaboard counties is also highlighted by the fact that Donegal comes in third on the pay league, with €9.54m being paid to 3,026 farmers in that county – averaging out at just under €3,200 per applicant.

Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, said that the uptake in GLAS across the whole western region highlighted the importance of the scheme to farmers in the more marginal areas.

“While we had hoped that the ACRES would be of a similar nature to GLAS, farmers here in the West still should definitely give serious consideration to applying for inclusion in the new scheme,” said Stephen Canavan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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