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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

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Stay safe on the farm

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GALWAY farmers have again been reminded during Farm Safety Week to ‘stop, think and slow down’ as they go about their work during the busy Summer season – and indeed for the rest of the year as well.

Roy O’Brien, Galway/Mayo IFA Regional Executive, told the Farming Tribune that too many farm families had been impacted upon by fatalities or life-changing injuries over recent years.

“In their daily work, farmers have to be a bit of everything from a vet to a mechanic to a driver of heavy machinery and often these tasks have to be carried out with no one else around.

“I think that this change of duties represents one of the big challenges to farmers in terms of their own health and safety. Every day can bring a new job and a new safety challenge,” said Roy O’Brien.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said it was shocking to think that between 2011 and 2020, 21 children had lost their lives in farm accidents across the country.

“While children look forward to being home on the farm for the Summer, now is an important time to have conversations about safety.

“Tell them about the dangers and set the rules but don’t expect a child to take on the responsibility of keeping themselves safe. Children do not understand risk,” said Anne Mitchell.

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

Top ten steps to reduce GHGs

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Suckler herds: The longer they can be kept out to grass, the better it is for reducing emissions.

TEAGASC has outlined a 10-step programme to help beef farmers reduce their carbon footprint over the coming years as part of agriculture’s contribution to the cutting of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Martina Harrington, Teagasc Beef Specialist, has outlined that 68% of all agricultural GHG emissions in Ireland are methane based while almost all the rest are nitrous oxide – less than 3% are carbon dioxide.

She explained in the latest edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm, that methane is a by-product of the digestive system of animals while nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas caused by the breakdown of nitrogen.

In terms of methane reductions, Martina Harrington, recommends more efficient suckler cows; better daily weight gains from calves; the possible use of feed additives; and an extension of the grazing season to reduce slurry volumes.

As regards nitrous oxide, she recommends a reduction in the amount of synthetic fertiliser to be applied by improving soil fertility, especially in relation to soil pH levels [liming].

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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