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Rural suicide figures continue to be ‘quite disturbing’ in Galway

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THE ongoing problem of rural suicides in the East Galway area has prompted the holding of a special three hour training programme next week in Ballinasloe, aimed at putting the first steps in place to save lives.

SafeTALK is aimed at the early identification of persons with suicidal thoughts by providing neighbours, friends or relatives of a person at risk, with a series of tell-tale signs that they should be aware of.

The training programme – in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe, from 6pm to 9.30pm on the Thursday evening of October 24 next – is aimed at people from all walks of life.

“Our appeal is to people from all walks of life, sports clubs, the business community, carers, those working with young people and anyone else interested – the aim is to build a better network of support,” safeTALK state.

Maura Canning, of the IFA Farm Family Committee and the GELS (Galway East Life Support) group, told the Farming Tribune that the figures for suicides over recent months continued to be quite disturbing.

“It seems to be primarily a male problem in rural area but the age brackets can vary from the 20s up to the 50s. Trying to tackle this problem is not easy, but we must start somewhere, and talking is a vital first step,” said Maura Canning.

She has advised people to be aware of some of the critical indications of someone who may be depressed and who could be at risk of suicide – the SIGNS mnemonic is a handy guide in spotting ‘at risk’ individuals.

S: Sleep disruption and overall difficulty in getting sufficient sleep.

I: Isolation – people who live on their own with little contact are a high risk.

G: Giving away special possessions such as a dog or a favourite picture.

N: No interest in things that a person might have cared dearly for previously.

S: Seeing no future. Phrases to watch for: “I don’t care anymore,” or “What’s the point.”

Next week’s training programme in Gullanes is free to all who are interested but places are limited and pre-booking is essential. To book a place contact: Maryosullivan@hse.ie or alternatively phone GELS at 085-1237878.

According to safeTALK, anyone who completes the training workshop, will find it easier to identify people who could be at risk of suicide – these specific skills are called ‘suicide alertness’.

“Following a safeTALK Workshop, you will be more willing and able to perform an important role for persons with thoughts of suicide,” safeTALKS state.

The training is open to anyone over the age of 18 years, although it is not recommended for anyone who has been affected by a recent loss to suicide.

According to Maura Canning, there can be a build-up of problems in people’s lives that haven’t been dealt with. “Then one more thing happens, like a farmer going out into the fields and finding a cow dead – this is like a last straw that sends them over the edge. But things are changing and people are beginning to talk more about themselves and their problems,” she said.

 

Connacht Tribune

Farmers are advised to get early advice on 2023 Nitrates Derogation requirements

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Tighter limits in latest Nitrates Derogation requirements. Photo: Courtesy of Teagasc.

MORE intensively stocked farmers – the vast majority of them in the dairy sector – have been advised by the Minister for Agriculture to ‘engage as soon as possible’ with the Nitrates Derogation application process.

Charlie McConalogue also advised dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural advisors – given the new excretion rate bands applicable to dairy cows since January 1, 2023.

The Minister added that the Nitrates Derogation provided farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising water quality.

“The Nitrates Derogation is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.”

“All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment, particularly those farming more intensively.

“It is crucial that we protect and restore our waters as soon as possible to maintain the Nitrates Derogation at current levels into the future.

“Water quality is crucial to a healthy environment and farmers are keen to drive further improvements here,” said the Minister.

The Dept. of Agriculture has outlined the three bands applicable for dairy cows: 80kg N/cow; 92 kg N/cow; and 106 kg N/cow per year.  Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of a nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway farmers to meet on crisis in sheep

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David Harney: Common sense has prevailed.
Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney

GALWAY sheep farmers will get the chance to vent their feelings on the prices and cost crisis facing the sector at a meeting in Tuam next week.

The meeting – hosted by Galway IFA – will take place in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam, on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 8pm.

It follows a national meeting of sheep farmers in Athlone last month at which the problems facing the sector in terms of declining prices, rising costs and lack of Government aid were highlighted.

According to Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, information provided at the Athlone meeting by Teagasc specialists indicated a profitability level of only €7 per ewe for sheep farmers.

“This is absolutely flabbergasting. No member of society could work 24/7 and expect such a miserly return. Government support for the sheep industry is essential now in order to preserve the sector,” said Stephen Canavan.

Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney also stated that the recent government report into the wool industry had provided nothing to sheep farmers that would give confidence in the future.

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

Query over Department’s BVD Stats

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ALL may not be as the Dept. of Agriculture is painting it in relation to the prevalence of BVD in herds, according to a North Galway farmer who has contacted the Farming Tribune.

The farmer, from the Caltra area, who has a herd of 25 sucklers with no recent buy-ins, said that in the past year he had to have three calves put down due to BVD.

He said that while the Department of Agriculture were trying to paint a picture of BVD almost being eliminated from the national herd, this wasn’t the reality on the ground.

“This just isn’t the case on my farm – I now of other farmers who have lost animals due to BVD,” the farmer stated.

He said that he wanted to put the record straight as regards claims from Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, who had claimed that Ireland was now close to achieving ‘the goal of BVD freedom’.

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) was first recognised as a major disease problem in Irish herds when the first year of the BVD programme started.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, the incidence of the virus in tested animals stood at 0.66% while in 2022, this had dropped to 0.03%.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that while the overall national trend in the incidence of BVD was very encouraging, there could still be pockets of the disease in herds.

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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