google-site-verification=wmi_UKG3DcoXNCxPyFjKSwE_7NPyaxA1CJ9pAaFOuqU

Farmers must weigh calves and their mothers at cost of €50 to qualify for €40 subsidy – McGrath

‘The Minister’s treatment of farmers is farcical.’

Sligo News File

There were strong exchanges in the Dail when last weekend a South of Ireland Deputy challenged agriculture Minister Michael Creed over his handling of the fodder crisis.

Mattie McGrath, TD …farmers must spend €50 to get €40 subsidy.

TD Mattie McGrath spoke of conditions in “Tipperary, east Waterford, south Kilkenny and east Cork, as well as other parts of the country” where he said farmers were “completely burned by the drought.”

He said: “The Minister has made no real effort to address this.

“I would love to know what inducements he is giving to stakeholders to come up with the figures he has given us. The situation on the ground is very different and many farmers have huge issues with not having enough fodder and no way of getting funding. The banks effectively are not working and the money announced in last year’s budget was not drawn down, while this year’s budget was a damp squib for agriculture.

“Suckler herds are on their knees and farmers in that sector wanted €200 per cow, but the Minister gave them €40, but one must weigh calves and their mothers, meaning the farmers must spend €50 to get €40. The Minister’s treatment of farmers is farcical.”

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture.

Creed: “The Deputy should reflect seriously on the accusation he has made against Teagasc to the effect that it has manipulated figures. It conducted a national fodder survey, the veracity of which has been accepted by all stakeholders. I accept that within the national deficit of 11%; there are individual holdings where it is higher. The best outcome from the stakeholder forum was the advice from the advisory services, namely, Teagasc, private advisers or co-operatives. The Deputy should reflect on his charge that a State organisation has manipulated figures.”

McGrath: “It has questions to answer.”

Creed: “The Deputy is seeking a cheap headline. It is rather unfortunate to try to make a cheap political point on the backs of farmers, who have had an extremely difficult year.”

McGrath: “The farmers have sleepless nights. Certain others do not.”

Creed: “It is a hit-and-run effort by Deputy Mattie McGrath. He will not even stay for the rest of Question Time.”

McGrath: “The Minister does not even run or hit.”

ICSA protest over beef prices at Mayo’s Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis

‘Unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out.’

Sligo News File.

The ICSA have taken their protest over beef prices to the door of Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis just weeks after similar demonstration outside ABP in Clones.

Edmund Graham, chairman, ICSA Beef Committee

Commenting on the move, chairman of the Association’s national beef committee Edmund Graham said beef sector producers “have been crucified by beef price cuts” in a year when substantial extra costs were incurred owing to extreme weather conditions.

He said farmers had faced “an orchestrated effort to drive down beef prices over several weeks,” but the price cutting had now stopped since the ICSA took action against the practice on the 5th of October.

Explaining the reason for the ongoing protest, he said the association “now want to drive price back up and no farmer should dream of selling steers this week at less than €3.85.

“Current prices are totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd, he said. The suckler herd is not profitable unless the price is closer to €5/kg.

President of the Association, Patrick Kent said the ICSA was sending a very clear message to retailers that beef farmers were being exploited.

Patrick Kent, president ICSA

“There will be no hiding place for retailers now who claim they are supporting farmers. Retailers cannot boast about sustainable beef and then profiteer when farmers are not even getting the cost of production.

“Retailers and processors need to wake up to the fact that there will be no sustainable beef if they continue to squeeze the primary producer.

“ICSA is calling for a halt to the exploitation of family farms.”

He also hit out at the failure of new international markets to deliver strong prices for farmers.

“Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.”

“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated. This is the second day of action and unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out,” he warned.

Key Brexit priorities for fisheries will be access to the UK zone in Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and North of Donegal – Minister

‘Continued objective is to ensure that the implications for fisheries are fully taken account of throughout the negotiations.’

Sligo News File.

Questioned by Sligo TD, Tony McLoughlin about the efforts being made to safeguard the Irish fishing industry in the context of Brexit, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Michael Creed said the key priorities for Ireland will be “the maintenance of current access to fishing grounds in the UK zone in the Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea and north of Donegal.” The protection of Ireland’s existing quota shares will also be a priority.

Tony McLoughlin, TD

Creed said his continued objective is to ensure that the implications for fisheries are fully taken account of throughout the negotiations for a future EU-UK relationship.

“In recent months, I have continued to have positive, regular meetings with my European colleagues, especially those from the group of 8 Member States whose fisheries are most impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. I am also working closely with key
stakeholders in the Irish fishing industry and am pleased at the level of unity on these key issues. The results of my engagement with the
Barnier Task Force, in close collaboration with the Tánaiste, are evident in the agreed EU position on fisheries.”

He added that the actual agreement on a future relationship could only be finalised and concluded “once the UK has become a third country, that is after it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. This is why a status quo transitional arrangement is so important. Of course, it is in the interest of everyone that a future relationship agreement is concluded as quickly as possible after the UK leaves the EU to provide certainty sooner rather than later.

“I would like to assure the Deputy that, working together with the
Tánaiste and his team and the Barnier Task Force, I will continue to
work to ensure that negotiations on fisheries remain inextricably linked to the overall future relationship negotiations in order to protect our existing access rights and quota entitlements.”

Glyphosate ‘safe to use’

Minister cites findings of European chemical and food safety bodies.

Sligo News File

Glyphosate it’s been claimed, doesn’t pose a threat to public health.

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture.

Responding to a written Dail question which referred to findings of the DeWayne Johnson court case in California, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed replied that both the European Foof Safety Authority the European Chemicals Agency had concluded, “on the basis of extensive reviews involving public consultation, that glyphosate can be used safely without putting consumers or users at risk.”

The EFSA review, he said, “included an assessment of potential dietary exposure that could result from pre-harvest use and concluded that this use does not pose a risk to human health.”

He continued to be guided by the findings of the two European bodies, he said.

He added, however, that his Department “will continue to monitor international peer reviewed scientific evidence and the guidance provided by EFSA and ECHA.”

A councillor who called at a meeting of Sligo County Council for the product to be banned in public areas was told there was no other weedkiller that was as effective.

Leitrim County Council has already imposed a ban on its use.

Monsanto brought glyphosate to market for agricultural use in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.

Monsanto merged with Bayer, a German multinational pharmaceutical company, in 2018.

Critics have been pushing for a label that would warn consumers of cancer risks.

Garden Organic, the working name of the Henry Doubleday Research Association, a registered charity in England, Wales and Scotland states that glyphosate “is not acceptable in organic growing.”

They list 10 things they say people need to know about glyphosate:

  1. Glyphosate is rarely used on its own, but as part of a chemical cocktail, for instance with the trade name Roundup or Weedol.
  2. These formulations are potentially far more dangerous. Dr Robin Mesnage of Kings College London, writes “We know Roundup, the commercial name of glyphosate-based herbicides, contains many other chemicals, which when mixed together are 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate on its own.” Recent research has show these other chemicals include arsenic, chromium, cobalt, lead and nickel.
  3. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that glyphosate is safe. However, most of their research is provided by the industry which created the herbicide. They haven’t tested the various individual commercial formulations. And regulation safety tests on mammals cover a short period, maximum 90 days. No-one knows the effect of long-term exposure to these toxic chemicals.
  4. This is worrying, because independent research indicates that glyphosate is not only possibly carcinogenic, but that it also affects the body’s endocrine system – causing problems in the liver and kidneys. Industry testers dispute this, but interestingly have declined to reveal all the results of their safety tests. See Corporate Europe report.
  5. Over 30% of the bread in the UK contains traces of glyphosate. While not necessarily toxic in small amounts, this gradual and persistent intake could create a health risk.
  6. This recent paper explores the effect of GBHs (glyphosate based herbicides) on the human gut. Interference with gut enzymes gives rise to many diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and diabetes.
  7. Glyphosate is the most widely and heavily used agrichemical worldwide, in agriculture, parks and amenities as well as in gardens.
  8. Recent research shows that glyphosate formulations destroy the micro organisms in healthy soil, and affects earthworms. (For a full review of the research of glyphosate on soil ecosystems, see this 2016 report from the Soil Association.)
  9. Glyphosate producers claim it is rapidly inactivated in the soil. However, the chemical is very persistent in soils and sediments, and in colder, seasonal climates, such as the UK, residues have been found in the soil for up to 3 years. It also inhibits the formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules on clover for up to 4 months after treatment.
  10. Again, makers of glyphosate claim that it is unlikely to pollute the water (ground or surface). However, a recent paper from San Paulo State University, Brazil, shows that glyphosate formulations profoundly affect the algae in fresh water. Researchers have found traces of glyphosate in wells, ground waters and reservoirs across Europe and the UK. Water contamination is probably as a result of drift from spraying, or from soil run off and erosion.

 

North West fared badly in IDA arranged foreign company visits to the region

 

Dublin heavily promoted.

Sligo News File.

Dublin topped the list in the volume of IDA organised foreign company site visits between 2016 and first half of 2018, according to details released by the Minister for Business and Enterprise.

 

Smallest of all was the number of foreign businesses shown round the West and North West, notably Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal.

County

2016

2017

Q1 2018

Q2  2018

Dublin

284

327

69

72

Kildare

8

10

4

0

Meath 

8

3

1

3

Wicklow

5

2

0

1

Laois

6

4

4

2

Longford

6

7

0

0

Offaly

4

5

0

1

Westmeath 

36

42

3

9

Clare

18

22

4

3

Limerick

49

42

8

7

Tipperary

8

8

1

1

Cavan 

2

2

0

1

Louth 

24

22

6

6

Monaghan 

2

1

0

1

Donegal 

7

2

0

3

Leitrim 

8

5

2

3

Sligo 

20

18

5

3

Carlow

9

8

1

2

Kilkenny

10

6

0

2

Waterford

17

11

5

9

Wexford

7

3

0

1

Cork 

49

51

10

14

Kerry

3

9

0

5

Galway 

42

62

10

20

Mayo 

5

7

2

2

Roscommon

1

3

0

1

Brexit loan package for farmers still not released a year after the announcement of the scheme, says Scanlon.

‘Minister Creed appears to be completely oblivious of the difficulties facing small family farmers.’

Sligo News File

Fianna Fail spokesman on business Eamon Scanlon has said that the government still hasn’t rolled out the Brexit loan scheme for farmers announced in the budget a year ago.

Fianna Fail spokesman on business Eamon Scanlon,TD

Speaking of the pressure being faced by small family farmers, the Sligo-Leitrim TD said: “Costs have risen, sterling price fluctuations have increased uncertainty, we have had fodder shortages and there are real fears about what the winter ahead could hold.

“All of these issues are further complicated by Brexit, which is now less than six months away.”

More measures are needed to support family farms in the face of sustained price volatility and the impending impact of Brexit,” he said.

The suckler cow scheme announced in the Budget does not go as far as we would like, it is a starting point. “I am hopeful that this payment can be increased in the coming months.

“The additional €23m in ANC funding will also provide a welcome relief to farmers in the North West, but we need to ensure the full restoration of the fund in the next budget.

“I am, however, concerned about the Minister’s handling of Brexit preparations – or lack thereof. In Budget 2018 he announced a €25m Brexit loan scheme for farmers. We’re still waiting for that scheme to open. Minister Creed appears to be completely oblivious to the difficulties facing small family farmers in the west of Ireland. The reality is that without the adequate supports, they will not survive.”

Adding that he wants to see the Minister take control of the situation and deliver the supports promised more than 12 months ago, he warned “any further delays could prove disastrous for our farming communities.”

Pope Francis compares abortion to ‘hiring a hitman’

‘How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?’

Condemnation comes as Irish government earmarks millions of euros for abortion services.

Sligo News File

As the Irish government earmarks €12 million of its annual budget for abortion services, the Pope has resolutely denounced the destruction of infants in the womb.

During his weekly audience in the Vatican on Wednesday, Francis compared abortion to Mafia-style killing, saying it was the equivalent of hiring a hit man “to take out a human life to solve a problem.”

Urging the faithful not to kill, he said some people justify abortion as respecting other rights, but he asked, “How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?”

Attack one of the Pope’s strongest on abortion

The attack is one of the strongest he has made on the killing of innocents in the womb. Five months ago, he likened abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi-era of trying to create a pure race.

Wilfully terminating life in the womb flies in the face of teachings of the Catholic Church and is regarded as a grave moral wrongdoing.

Ireland, a Catholic state, last month formally removed a long-time constitutional amendment that protected the unborn, voting by a huge majority to clear the way for mothers to be able to legally kill babies up to twelve weeks of pregnancy and, in some cases, as far on as six months.

In June, Health Minister Harris reportedly said that he was “determined” to do something to prevent people from protesting outside centres where abortion services are offered. However, it’s been argued that the action could lead to a constitutional challenge in the courts.

The government in Britain has categorically rejected calls for the introduction of “buffer zones” barring protests outside abortion clinics across the UK.

Sligo based US operation expanding workforce

Creation of further 100 jobs.

Sligo News File

Overstock is expanding the workforce at its European base in Sligo.

The company has announced that it is to create a further 100 jobs.

Described as an online retailer that sells a broad range of products, its headquarters are based in Utah.