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Tensions prompt a ‘time out’ as IFA awaits new leader

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THE Galway IFA AGM, that will select the next county chairman for the coming four years, will not now be held until the end of March, following tensions that have emerged over recent weeks.

Initially it had been hoped to hold the AGM before the end of February but the date has now slipped back to either Monday, March 24 or 31.

‘Divided camps’ within the county in the recent national presidential elections have led to an element of division within the IFA in Galway, according to a number of members who contacted the Farming Tribune.

As of this week, only one candidate – Ardrahan’s Pat Murphy – has nailed his colours to the mast in going for the chairman’s job, being vacated next month by Michael Flynn, as his four year term comes to an end.

There had been some speculation that a branch colleague of Pat Murphy’s – Michael Kelly – could also be throwing his hat into the ring for the ‘chair’ but there has been no confirmation of this.

This week, Pat Murphy told the Farming Tribune that he had already visited about 60 of the county’s 77 branches and that he intended to meet all of them before the AGM.

“At the moment, there are three big issues facing farmers in Galway – the factories’ ongoing manipulation of beef prices; CAP details and the whole entitlements issue as well as the flooding problem affecting tens of thousands of acres across the county,” said Pat Murphy.

Prior to the national presidential elections, there was also the Galway IFA vote for the Connacht Vice-Presidency (now the Regional Chairman) late last year, with Tom Turley winning that contest against current County Chairman, Michael Flynn.

According to a number of IFA sources in Galway, the two votes have ‘taken a toll’  in terms of the unity of the organisation in Galway – with the stalling of the AGM, giving time to the different parties to ‘cool off’.

There also had been some speculation that a ‘more senior figure’ in Galway IFA could be nominated as a ‘unity candidate’ for the chair, but so far there doesn’t seem to have been any support for this move.

The ‘men for the jobs’ positions won’t become much clearer until nomination papers have been sent out to the branches and returned.

As well as the chairman’s position, the vice-chair will also be left vacant as Michael Kelly completes his four year term while other vacancies will occur in the livestock committee, the farm family committee and the National Council representative.

County Chairman, Michael Flynn, told the Farming Tribune that the election that saw him take the chair had also taken place in March and that there was no problem with the March date for this AGM.

“We’ve said all along that our meeting must be scheduled to ensure that our National President, Eddie Downey, will be in attendance. We look forward to having him there as our special guest on the night,” said Michael Flynn.

Connacht Tribune

Worry of walkers claiming against farmers

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Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy

FARMERS in hill-walk areas such as Connemara need to have their concerns allayed about insurance indemnification, the IFA has warned this week.

A pilot insurance project for farmers – as outlined by Rural and Community Development Minister, Heather Humphrey – is in the pipeline but has not yet been enacted into legislation.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, said that farmers in such areas needed the clear reassurance that if walkers on their farm had a fall or mishap, then the landowners would not be liable for any compensation.

“This really is a red line issue for farmers and landowners. They must be guaranteed in law that if hill-walkers are allowed on their lands that no liability will attach to the landowner if something happens,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that while farmers supported the principle of people being able to access the more scenic areas of the countryside, the issue of insurance indemnification had to be crystal clear.

“We also know that the issue of dogs being let roam by people out on country walks is one that needs to be addressed.

“The first thing a dog will do that’s let roam free will be to follow the nearest animal they see, and this is a major worry especially for sheep farmers,” said Pat Murphy.

Meanwhile, National Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has expressed concerns about recreational users not abiding by the Countryside Code during the recent spell of good weather.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Now is the right time to plan ahead for next year’s crop of Spring lambs

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The boss is around: Prepare early for the breeding season. Photo: Compliments of Agriland.

IT might still only be Midsummer, but a Teagasc specialist has advised sheep farmers that now is the time to start planning ahead for the upcoming breeding season.

Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer, said that while most people considered the breeding season to be just the five to six weeks that the rams were out with the ewes, in reality it was much longer.

“The breeding season for next year’s lamb crop actually starts once the current year’s lamb crop is weaned,” Michael Gottstein has advised in the Summer edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm.

He outlined three key Summer dates for sheep farmers – late June/early July for weaning and checking on the condition of the ewes; early July for a ram health check; and late July/early August when the ram sales kick off.

The Teagasc specialist said that productive ewes will require about 10 weeks of good grass after weaning to regain body weight lost during pregnancy and lactation.

“Contrary to what many farmers think, it is not a good idea to allow ewes to lose weight post-weaning. Thin ewes that do not regain body condition after six weeks of good grass should be culled,” said Michael Gottstein.

He also advised that rams should be checked in early July for lameness, body condition, as well as for signs of disease or injury – while, like the ewes, they needed time to regain body condition.

“Identify how many, if any, replacements (rams) are required and purchase them early, so that they have the best chance of acclimatising to their new environment and feeding regime,” 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.

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

Fair Deal reached as Bill is enacted

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Maura Canning: Good day expected.
Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson

RELIEF has been expressed this week in farming and political circles that at last the Fair Deal Nursing Home legislations changes have been passed by the Oireachtas.

The Bill went through the Dáil last Thursday and the Seanad on Friday, bringing to a conclusion a campaign that started back in 2012.

Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson, told the Farming Tribune there was a great sense of relief that a nine-year long campaign had at last got over the line.

“It has been such a long and difficult campaign to secure this deal with a lot of complications and obstacles along the way. At times, we seemed to be almost there, until something happened to hold up the process, but there really was a great sense of relief last Friday when the Bill at last passed through its final stages,” said Maura Canning.

She paid a particular to former Minister of State, Jim Daly; the current incumbent Mary Butler; and also to the many TDs and Senators that had been lobbied over the years on the issue. “No TD ever failed to return a call,” she said.

The key change in the new Bill is that there will be a three-year cap on the 7.5% annual contribution of the overall value of the farm where the farmer or their spouse is in a nursing home. There are a number of conditions attached to this CAP, the most significant of which is the fact that the farm must be signed over fully to the inheritor for a five-year period and this person must also continue farming on the land.

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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