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RSS changes are a threat to future of entire scheme

Francis Farragher

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ANY ‘tampering’ with the Rural Social SchemE (RSS) by the Government could have major implications for rural communities across the western seaboard, according to Fianna Fáil, Agriculture Spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív.

He said this week that he had concerns for the future viability of the RSS following changes put in place over the past years or so and also a review undertaken by the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Deputy Ó Cuív said that following changes put in place in late 2012, a married man with a partner and two children now joining the scheme, would be about €100 worse off than a comparable person in the scheme over a number of years.

“This is a huge difference in income and instead of a person like that earning nearly €400 a week, he would drop to less than €300. Over the coming years, as vacancies arise in these schemes, this cut will have a major impact on the uptake of positions,” Deputy Ó Cuív told the Farming Tribune.

He said that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was now also claiming that the RSS was out of line with Government policy and that they wanted to integrate income support schemes with labour market activation.

“In other words, they want to limit the length of time a farmer can stay on this programme as well as introducing a back to work element to the scheme. This simply won’t work. Farmers who participate in the RSS are already working, but are unable to earn enough to sustain their families,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that since the introduction of the scheme in 2004 it had  benefited both the farmer and the taxpayer as it enabled local people to undertake community work at a fraction of the cost.

“The scope of the work ranges from environmental maintenance to social care, as well as village and countryside enhancement projects.  It’s been an extremely successful programme and I have grave concerns about any plans to abolish or change it,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that  the scheme ensures community services were maintained and improved, while at the same time compensating low income farmers for the work they carry out.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Marts across Galway have sales for heavier cattle lined up over coming weeks

Francis Farragher

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Fatstock sales being lined up at marts across Galway to encourage competition in the marketplace for heavier cattle.

THE IFA driven campaign to encourage farmers to sell their heavier cattle at the marts – rather than the factories – kicks off this weekend at Headford Mart.

Headford will host the first of the fatstock events as part of their sales programme on this Saturday, September 19, with at least six other marts lined up for further such events over the coming weeks.

Gort Mart will host a fatstock sale on Friday, September 25 followed by Loughrea (Saturday, September 26); Tuam (Monday, September 28); Ballinasloe (Wednesday, September 30); Clifden (Friday, October 2) and Portumna (Wednesday, October 7).

A number of other marts around the county, including Athenry, are also expected to announce dates for upcoming fatstock sales over the coming weeks.

According to the campaign to encourage the sales of cattle at the marts, Galway IFA have said that the events will give farmers the opportunity to sell cattle that are either under-fit or over-fit for the meat plants, resulting in financial penalties being imposed.

The also point out that the mart sales should be actively considered for the heavier cattle for the following reasons:

■ Payment is guaranteed.

■ Instant market prices.

■ Farmer can make the decision either to sell or hold.

■ Full transparency on AIMS (Animal Identification and Movement System).

■ Specialist buyers/agents will be at the marts to buy such cattle.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, told the Farming Tribune that there was a very solid market basis for farmers selling their heavier stock at the marts.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Welcome as ANC payroll begins its run

Francis Farragher

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Anne Mitchell: TB costs need to be looked at.
Anne Mitchell: Ensure that any query from the Dept. on ANC is replied to.

THE announcement should have been made on Tuesday by the Minister for Agriculture at the first day of the Ploughing Championships – instead, due to COVID-19, there’s just a routine confirmation that the ANC payments have commenced this week.

Well over 9,000 Galway farmers will be cleared for payment this week in the Areas of Natural Constraint 85% payout for 2020.

It is estimated that the payments in total will be worth in the region of €20 million to Galway farmers – the 15% balancing payment is due to be made in early December.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the ANC payment would be most welcome in terms of cashflow on what had been a very difficult year for farmers.

“This is an absolutely vital payment for farmers in the West of Ireland, normally announced on the first day of the Ploughing championships but unfortunately that’s not the case this year.

“However, the important thing is that the payments have commenced this week and they will be a big help to farmers trying to balance the books,” said Anne Mitchell.

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

Rural TDs need to ‘stand up and be counted’

Francis Farragher

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Stephen Canavan: Rural TDs need to 'wake up'.

A GALWAY IFA leader has called on Government rural TDs to ‘stand up and be counted’ in relation to the Dept. of Agriculture decision to send out TB ‘risk letters’ to farmers across the country.

Stephen Canavan, Galway IFA Animal Health Representative, told the Farming Tribune that the decision to send out the letters – at a time when there was no Minister for Agriculture in place – was ‘sneaky’ and a ‘cheap shot’ at farmers.

“The damage is done and the shot is fired – all we can do is to try and prevent the next one from going off. But why don’t our own rural Government TDs stand up for their own people – and do the right thing,” said Stephen Canavan.

He described the Department’s badger vaccination programme as ‘farcical and completely inadequate’ to deal with the core issue of the role of wildlife in the spread of bovine TB.

“If the best the Department can do, is to send out letters to farmers putting them into different risk categories, then we’re a long way off from resolving this issue. Farmers weren’t consulted on this – it was just ‘snuck’ in when there was no Minister in charge,” said Stephen Canavan.

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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