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Farming

Week of the storms from hell

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Farmers and householders in large swathes of South and East Galway are this week praying that the rains will ease off as floodwaters came close over the past few days to the disastrous November levels of 2009.

Thousands of acres of farmland are underwater in the Shannon Callows area while in the South Galway area of Ardrahan, Ballinderreen and Kilcolgan, up to 10 local roads are impassable.

Farm leaders have again hit out at Government and political representatives for what they describe as ‘a string of broken promises’ in relation to the putting in place of essential flood relief measures.

According to IFA National Flood Project Chairman and Shannon Callows farmer, Michael Silke, waters on the Shannon rose by six feet above the navigation level over the second half of December and through the early days of January.

“We are really just in the lap of the Gods at present. If the rains don’t ease off, we will be looking at a situation just as bad as what happened after the floods in November 2009.

“The people who live along the Shannon Callows are bitterly disappointed at the lack of active measures taken by the present Government in relation to this situation.

“They came into power on a series of promises to resolve once and for all the flooding problems of this area but they have just sat idly by, while people in this area go through another period of terrible hardship,” said Michael Silke.

He described the drainage policy across the Shannon area as ‘a complete mess’, pointing out that the lead agency involved in the flood relief measures – the OPW (Office of Public Works) – just didn’t have the legal clout to put any serious action plan in place.

“There are so many bodies with an input into this issue like the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Fisheries, the ESB and Inland Waterways, that no action ends up being taken.

“We as local farmers and householders are happy to see the OPW as the lead agency in this whole flood problem that has gone on for generations, but they must be given the legal clout to implement their plans,” said Michael Silke.

He added that report after report was piling up on the flooding problem without any basic remedial measures being put in place like the proper maintenance and cleaning of the main river channel.

“When we seek to put measures in place to relieve this problem we normally hear of two things – cost benefit analysis and the environment. The one thing that’s never factored in, is the level of human hardship being endured by the families living here,” said Michael Silke.

Unless the rains eased up, sheds, fodder stocks and in cases houses would be coming under threat, according to Michael Silke.

Mattie Hallinan, from Ballinderreen – a member of the Galway Flood Project Team – described the situation in South Galway this as very serious with up to 10 roads blocked while around 10 houses were coming under pressure due to rising water levels.

“The really frustrating aspect of this problem is that there are straightforward solutions that can be put in place in a very cost effective manner.

“For example, the widening and clearing of the Ballinderreen-Kiltiernan water channel to the sea would provide instant relief for flooding in this area – the water needs to get to the sea and this work must start from the sea back,” said Mattie Hallinan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht  Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

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

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

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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