ICSA says farmers will face ‘serious difficulties’ when BPS applications have to be made online.
Sligo News File.
Did anybody seriously believe the outgoing Fine Gael- Labour Coalition had any intention of pushing ahead with the roll out the much publicised rural broadband service?
Well, it now looks that it will be many more years before the long promised rural service sees the light of day, a situation which, once again, reveals the half-hearted attitude Fine Gael and Labour have regarding the revamping of anything rural.
The failings have again drawn the ire of the ICSA whose rural development chairman, Seamus Sherlock has said the delay in signing a new contract to 2017 “will have the knock on effect of further isolating and marginalising rural communities.”
Coming just a year after Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney spoke of a prosperous era for a milk industry that is now struggling to survive, Sherlock has branded the latest government announcement as “further evidence that rural Ireland is not getting the priority it deserves.
“It’s totally unacceptable that we are so far behind the curve on this issue,” he said, adding that the broadband rollout “may now not be completed until 2022.”
He said, “People living in rural communities urgently need proper broadband with local banks and post offices closing. Also, the time is fast approaching when all farmers will be required to complete their BPS applications online, which when you don’t have access to broadband will cause serious difficulties.
“I am calling on the department to sort out their so-called planning and procedural issues on this matter.” The people of rural Ireland “are not prepared to wait.”
‘Ireland cannot take anything for granted particularly at the peripheral Intel sites in County Clare.’
Sligo News File Online.
As fears grow over expected job losses at Intel, Ireland, Sinn Fein has called on Acting Minister for Enterprise, Richard Bruton, to immediately engage with management on the company on the issue.
Party Spokesman on Enterprise, Peader Tobin said, “Ireland cannot take anything for granted especially at the peripheral Intel sites located in County Clare.
“Intel is a massive employer in the state, he said. “It contributes significantly in terms of wages, consumption of services, business rates and the technology development of the Irish economy.
“It’s important that the Acting Minister for Enterprise quickly engages with senior management of the company with the view to safeguarding as many jobs as possible.
He said, “It is hoped that considering significant recent investment into the Irish sites, that many of the jobs should be safe. However, Ireland cannot take anything for granted especially at the peripheral Intel sites located in County Clare.
“Foreign Direct Investment is an important and welcome part of the Irish economy. We must continue to vigorously pursue FDI into the future.
He said fears of job losses in Intel also “put the over reliance of this state on FDI into sharp perspective.
“The Irish economy is extremely unbalanced. Nearly 90% of exports are from foreign multinationals. This makes Ireland highly vulnerable to economic shocks such as exchange rates, interest rates or even a new
“The Indigenous enterprise sector with far stickier jobs has for so long been the poor relation with regards Irish enterprise policy. This needs to change. We need to emulate comparable countries such as Denmark and Austria in developing the size and export capability of indigenous firms.
“This generation has seen the wide scale damage that can be wrought on an economy which is over exposed to one sector.” He said “fixing the problem when that sector is in retreat is too late.”
‘Agriculture and fishing plays a huge part in job creation and the economic and social development of rural Ireland’
Newly elected Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh, who today topped the poll in the Seanad’s Agricultural Panel, has affirmed her commitment to working for the ordinary people of the West of Ireland.
Senator Conway-Walsh said:
“I am delighted to top the poll on the Agricultural Panel. I want to thank the almost 8,000 people who voted for me in the General Election in Mayo which helped me get the nomination for this panel, as well as my colleagues on Mayo County Council who voted for me, and I look forward to working with them in my new role.
“The Agricultural Panel is particularly important to me and my Sinn Féin colleague Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, because we recognise that agriculture and fishing plays a huge part in job creation and the economic and social development of rural Ireland. We will work hard to address some of the barriers for farming and fishing families in the West.
“I will be a Senator for the ordinary people of Mayo, those who have suffered most from the severe impact of austerity. Today’s report on the injustice of our health services for cancer patients underpins what we in Sinn Féin have been fighting against for years.
“Every day I see the hardship people in Mayo and the West experience in trying to access basic healthcare. This is as result of successive governments driving the privatisation and centralisation of health services. I, with my colleagues in Sinn Féin, will continue to fight for the basic human right of people to access to healthcare regardless of where they live or how little money they have.”
‘Unique six-day celebration of sheep farming, food, and local heritage’ begins tomorrow.
Sligo News File Online.
This year’s Roscommon Lamb Festival is being flagged as “a great opportunity to strengthen the link between farmers, consumers, and tourism.”
The six-day event, which runs from April 27 to May 2, “will have widespread appeal and offers something for everyone, urban and rural,” says the chairman of the ICSA national sheep committee, John Brooks.
Urging public support for the event, he said the festival “is a unique celebration of sheep farming, food, and local heritage.”
The attractions this year include international sheepdog trials; heritage and farm walks, a local enterprise craft marquee, and farmers’ market as well as a variety of children’s activities – “in other words, something for all the family.”
Mr. Brooks said, “Irish lamb is known worldwide for its quality and taste, particularly at this time of year when lamb is at its prime. A festival like this unique event brings it right back to the heart of the local community.
“It’s also a great opportunity to strengthen the link between farmers, consumers and tourism,” he said.
‘The responsibility of those elected to Dail is to find a way to run the country’
“If the water charges are the only obstacle to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coming to an agreement, they should defer these charges for the next few years and put it to the people in a referendum in tandem with the next County Council elections.” That’s according to Bernie O’Hara, Sligo – Leitrim Independent candidate in the 2016 General Election.
“Any party or independent who want to promote a situation, where their role is solely that of opposition should never be elected again. Every person elected should have a role in responsibly governing and leading the country. To come back to the electorate and ask us to vote for a party that will have an overall majority is to say we voted wrong the last time. In actual fact what is indicates is that the people we elected are NOT capable of providing a government based on the wishes of the people.
“A minority government provides the perfect opportunity for democracy to work. Each elected representative should have a role in making this happen. There are many cross party committees in the Dail that discuss many issues. Every person elected should be involved in at least one of these groups. Each group should be given various sectors in the public service to identify all the areas where funds are being wasted. They should put together a plan to stop the waste and allocate the saved money to improve the services in the different departments. They would then bring this to the Dail and have it voted on. This would make it very easy to have the budget agreed on by the Dail.
“There are many obvious departments where savings can be made :
“The Health service as it is at the moment can cause a person to wait a year or longer for treatment in a hospital costing in the region of €30,000 in social welfare payments, with the amount of people who go through the hospital services each year this runs into hundreds of millions. If this money was diverted to the health services we would have a first class health service, there would be no waiting lists which would mean people would get back to work quicker saving millions on social welfare payments.
“As it stands at the moment a self employed person will not receive unemployment benefit if their business fails or receive health benefits if they are sick. This is deterring many people from starting their own business. If this situation was amended many more people would engage in starting their own business. This again would save the taxpayer on unemployment benefits and also generate revenue through the new business. This could be offered immediately to new businesses starting and rolled out to all self employed over a three year period.
“Many of the homeless are families where their jobs have been lost. These families with a mortgage should be entitled to a payment similar to rent allowance paid to people in rented accommodation. An arrangement should be made with the banks who have already been bailed out to accept this as payment on their mortgage until such time as they find employment. This would save millions for the taxpayer on temporary accommodation for families who have lost their homes. It would also provide a protection for vunerable families.
“This is also an opportunity for those elected , who want the salaries of Dail deputies reduced, to have this implemented.
“These are just some of the ways these committees could improve services while at the same time saving money – together with, generating revenue from increased employment and involving all elected representatives in the running of the country.
“The national debt is the biggest burden on the people of this country. As with any lending institution the IMF would look favourably on a plan that sees the country being run in an efficient way. Many would say Bertie Ahern is one of the main culprits in this debt. He is also seen by many all over the world as one of the greatest negotiators. As a recipient of a huge pension from the taxpayer, He should be asked to earn that money and negotiate a reduction on that debt.
“Those elected representatives who say this cannot work, don’t want it to work. It is a lot easier to sit on the fence and shout no. This is an opportunity for reform of the Dail that should not be lost. You the elected representatives owe it to the people.”
Current bird conservation status denying island farmers ‘realistic’ Glas payment.
Sligo News File Online
The ICSA has taken up the case of farmers on Sherkin whose Glas
entitlements are affected by the omission of the island as an area of conservation under the EU Wild Birds Directive
Sherkin and Cape Clear, islands lying South West of Cork, are among places of the country in which the presence of the Clough, a rare bird species, has been recorded.
However, says West Cork Chairman of the Association, Dermot Kelleher, farmers on the island are faced with the “bizarre” situation where Cape Clear is designated as a Chough area for the purpose of the Glas Scheme, whilst Sherkin, “which is literally only a stone’s throw away, is not.”
“This means that Sherkin farmers cannot get a realistic payment out of GLAS and ICSA wants to see this situation rectified,” said Mr. Kelleher, after he visited the island with a delegation of ICSA representatives, including the association’s General Secretary, Eddie Punch.
The organisation’s rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said that he would be seeking a commitment from the incoming Minister for Agriculture to re-examine the anomaly. “While designation is usually a matter for the NPWS and the Minister in charge of it, we understand that the Minister for Agriculture had the ability to rectify the situation for Cape Clear in terms of GLAS. However, this discretion was not exercised in favour of Sherkin which ICSA believes is very unfair.”
ICSA also held discussions with the Sherkin farmers, led by Sean O’Neill and Martin O’Driscoll on the issue of unfair overclaim deductions under the LPIS review. Mr. Sherlock said, “It is essential to understand that these farmers face huge challenges and are doing a great job in keeping farming going on the island, and it is outrageous that they are being penalised rather than getting support from the state.”
Judgement ‘has set back all of the progress made in recent years.’
Sligo News File Online.
Farmers will be considering whether allowing public access over their lands poses an unacceptably high risk of being sued where walkers may be injured.
Concern is growing following a court judgement where a hill walker was awarded €40,000 in a claim for injury against the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The court heard that Teresa Wall, 59, Rathkingle Cottages, Swords, suffered an injury to her knee when she fell on a boardwalk of partially decayed railway sleepers on August 6th, 2013.
Counsel for Wall argued that the boardwalk constituted ‘a structure’ which, under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1995, ‘imposed a much higher duty of care in the maintenance and management of it.’
It is understood that the judgement is to be appealed to the High Court.
Meanwhile, chair of the ICSA rural development Seamus Sherlock said, “Hill walking by its nature involves a small degree of risk and
those who participate in this activity should be prepared to accept that risk themselves. It is totally unacceptable that a farmer or landowner should find themselves facing a lawsuit through no fault of their own.
He said that while the claim in this case concerned a structure put in place by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, there will now be a growing fear of more cases being taken in the courts.
“Up to now, the state and hill walking lobbyists had been adamant that farmers had nothing to fear because no case had ever succeeded in the courts against landowners or state agencies.
The ICSA, he said “has continuously lobbied for a Government national indemnity for farmers who permit hill walkers and mountaineers to walk across their lands, but so far we have not been successful in our pursuit.
“We had made significant progress over the years in fostering good relations with hill walkers. Comhairle na Tuaithe have assisted greatly in encouraging this interaction, but if this judgement is upheld then all that progress will have been reversed.
“This ruling has set back all of the progress made in recent years and it makes it difficult for ICSA to encourage farmers to allow access.
He added that the ruling “also has potential ramifications for the development of cycling routes.”
IRISH ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES ADDRESS TO CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
Adopted at January 1921 Session of Dail Eireann
‘The nation which we represent enjoyed for over a thousand
years the life of an independent sovereign State among the States of Europe. Then a neighboring nation — England — which had received the benefits of civilization and education first from our hands, lost to gratitude and honor and burning with lust for our possessions, burst in upon us as a conscienceless invader, and through the course of many generations strove to subvert our polity, annihilate our language and our culture, suppress our industry, ruin our agriculture, steal our trade and our commerce, deprive us of the advantages of our geographical position, cut us off from our ancient intercourse with other peoples, rob our revenues, and erase our name from the roll of nations’
THE STRUGGLE OF THE IRISH PEOPLE.
To the elected Representatives of the people of the United States of America:
We, the elected representatives of Ireland, recognizing in you the elected Representatives in Congress of the people of the United States of America, our brethren in the common effort to hasten the day when the nations may dwell together in justice and in harmony, have the honor to greet and to address you.
1. We feel certain that the struggle of our people — the people of Ireland — against the aggression of England is not passing unob- served by you. We covet your esteem as we would value your sympathy and support and fearful least you be misled by the wide- spread, persistent, and insidious propaganda of falsehood through which England seeks to create prejudice against us — distorting the character of the contest, we hasten to lay before you facts, so that correctly informed you may be able to judge justly.
2. The nation which we represent enjoyed for over a thousand years the life of an independent sovereign State among the States of Europe. Then a neighboring nation — England — which had received the benefits of civilization and education first from our hands, lost to gratitude and honor and burning with lust for our possessions, burst in upon us as a conscienceless invader, and through the course of many generations strove to subvert our polity, annihilate our language and our culture, suppress our industry, ruin our agriculture, steal our trade and our commerce, deprive us of the advantages of our geographical position, cut us off from our ancient intercourse with other peoples, rob our revenues, and erase our name from the roll of nations.
3. Failing to achieve these ends after centuries of criminal effort, this nation entered into solemn treaties acknowledging our national independence and contracting to respect it for all time, but this meant merely until our national defenses were dismantled. Then treaties and contracts were treated as scraps of paper and the compact treacherously and bloodily violated.
4. All the resources of a powerful and ruthless tyranny have been employed since in a desperate attempt to utterly destroy us as a nation. In the course of little over a century we have been robbed of wealth amounting to an empire’s ransom, whilst within living memory a population of eight and a half millions which, with the normal rate of increase, would have given us to-day a population of some seventeen millions, has been reduced by enemy acts to four millions —a crime unique among civilized nations. Our island is surpassingly fertile, generously endowed by nature with every advantage and facility for industry, for trade, and for commerce, capable of supporting in happiness and prosperity twenty millions of souls, yet only last year it was publicly declared by the official head of the usurping English Government that it was the considered pohcy of that Government to banish from our country the young and strong — the flower of the four millions that yet remain.
5. The Irish people have consistently resisted this infamous tyranny to the utmost of their power. Almost every generation has witnessed at least one armed uprising, and when the people were too weak to resist in arms they never ceased to make clear their hatred of the rule of the foreigner. Their oppressor’s declara- tions that the national sentiment of Ireland is guilty of “disloyalty” to English rule has been a constant acknowledgment of this attitude. The attitude and the desire of the present generation has been made manifest beyond question.
6. On December 14, 1918, mindful of the principles professed by the Government of England during the Great War and seeing in the application of these principles a ready and a just means of arriving at a peaceful and final settlement of their own centuried struggle, the Irish people declared by an overwhelming majority at the polls for an independent Irish republic.
7. Acting on the mandate thus expressly given by this national plebiscite, carried out under the forms and laws prescribed by Eng- land herself, the people’s elected representatives assembled on January 21, 1919, formally proclaimed the nation’s independence and declared the republic of Ireland duly established.
8. This legitimate application of the principle of national self- determiination, this peaceful and orderly exercise of their moral and democratic right by the Irish people, was met by the British Government with an immediate and murderous exercise of brutal force. Troops and engines of destruction that for four years had been engaged on the Continent of Europe in the cause of the rights of small nations, it was said, and the fundamental principles of democracy, were rushed to Ireland and used to trample on those very rights and to strangle that very principle in the name of which they had been enrolled and employed.
9. The reign of intensified military terrorism that was thus insti- tuted, although rigorously persisted in, did not intimidate the voters at the ensuing municipal and rural elections for local governing bodies. The homes of the people were raided systematically by day and by night, individual electors were murdered by bayonet and bullet, men were taken by the thousand and dragged off to English jails, the fears of the women and children were mercilessly played upon, but the terror failed. The year, instead of weakening, increased the strength of the Irish people’s determination, and the republican representation showed an increase of 15 per cent on the previous elections though the system of ”proportional representation” had been applied with the express design of reducing it.
10. To this further peaceful and constitutional action on our part, the foreign usurping Government, replied with a still fiercer and more vicious brutality.
11. The national, political, cultural, and industrial associations of the people were proscribed, and membership deemed a crime. The right of public assembly was abolished and the press gagged. The elected representatives of the nation were declared a criminal body. All of their number with two exceptions were seized from time to time and imprisoned in English jails where two have already met their deaths.
12. For over two years the people of Ireland bore patiently these ever-increasing burdens and persecutions without committing a single act of violence, either in self-defense or in reprisal. In that period, thousands were torn from their homes and cast into prison, many died as a result of prison treatment, and seven unarmed citizens were willfully murdered by the armed agents of the English Government, which openly incited the murders and encouraged the murderers with rewards and promotion.
13. But this patience of the people at last became exhausted. Abandoned, as it seemed, by the world, they turned to defend themselves as best they could. The British Government then put aside every restraint of civilization and deliberately resolved to proceed without regard for life or property. So vile was the policy projected that their regular troops could not be relied upon to carry it out. The ex-convict from the jails, however, and the degenerate back from the trenches, in whose breast the savagery of the late war had extinguished the last sparks of humanity, could be depended upon to have few qualms in dealing with their victims, and to cause little embarrassment to those in high authority amongst their employers by any nice regard for nominal discipline. A special force of these fiends was accordingly embodied. Allured by the prospect of an easy prey and unlimited loot, they were gathered together from every corner of Britain, and operating with the whole British Army in their rear as a cover and a protection, they were let loose upon an unarmed and defenseless populace.
14. An orgy of murder and robbery began. Neither age nor sex nor profession was respected. Old men of 80 and little children of 8, sick and crippled boys, mothers and wives, even anointed ministers of God, were indiscriminately murdered — the breadwinner before the eyes of his family and the mother with the child at her breast at the cottage door. Houses, offices, workshops, factories and creameries were plundered and destroyed. Towns and villages were sacked and burned down. The home of the farmer and the home of the artisan, the shop, the store, the office were looted and given to the flames.
15. Whole districts were devastated and the produce destroyed in the hope of famishing the population. Individual citizens were held up at the point of the revolver or bayonet and robbed on the public streets, and wlule these outrages were being perpetrated every act of self-defense on the part of the victims was advertised by English propagandists as a crime, and the murderers and robbers proclaimed champions of law and order.
16. At the present moment these abominations continue unabated. The English Government’s jails are being filled with our countrymen, some of whom have been murdered therein, and others put to the torture. New capital offenses are being created. The simple possession of firearms is a charge on which several Irishmen have been executed. Prominent citizens are carried as hostages by English troops in their military expeditions against our people, and their lives forfeit if the unit with which they are traveling be molested. The elected representatives of the nation, the mayors and the presidents of our municipal and urban councils, the chairmen of our county and rural councils — all the chief officers on whom devolve the direction of national and local administration are made objects of special attack, the uniform purpose being to prevent constructive legislation, and to bring our domestic public affairs into chaos. Such, for example, was the purpose that lately prompted the murder of one lord mayor of Cork, the imprisonment till death of another lord mayor of Cork, and the imprisonment until his health was permanently impaired of the lord mayor of Dublin.
17. This demoniacal war upon our community is being waged with no other provocation than our insistence on our national right, and our faithful adherence to a principle which even the demon’s masters themselves have pretended to serve.
18. The Irish people claim no more than their right as a nation to determine freely for themselves how they shall be governed. We, their official spokesmen — their elected parliament and government call mankind to witness that our people have ever been ready to welcome peace with England on that just basis.
19. On no other basis is peace possible. We shall not surrender our national right — nor will force compel us.
Our cause is the common cause of humankind. To that cause we have pledged ourselves and our people to remain faithful unto death.
You, the representatives of a sister nation, can not, we feel, be insensible to the issue.
Adopted at the January session of Dail Eireann, 1921.
Eamon de Valera, president, deputy for East Clare and East Mayo; Arthur Griffith, deputy for East Cavan and Northwest Tyrone; James Lennon, deputy for Carlow County; PaiJ Galligan, deputy for West Cavan; Brian O’Higgins, deputy for West Clare; J. J. Walsh, deputy for Cork City; Liam de Roiste, deputy for Cork City; P. O’Keeffe, deputy for North Cork; T. Hunter, deputy for North East Cork; David Kent, deputy for East Cork; John Hayes, deputy for West Cork; Michael Collins, deputy for South Cork; Joseph O’Doherty, deputy for North Donegal; Joseph Sweeney, deputy for West Donegal; P. J. Ward, deputy for South Donegal; li. J. Mul- cahy, deputy for Clontarf, Dublin City; John T O’Kelly, deputy for College Green, Dublin City Philip Shanahan, deputy for Harbour, Dublin City Joseph McGrath, deputy for St. James, Dublin City Michael Staines, deputy for St. Michans, Dublin City; Thomas Kelly, deputy for St. Stephens Green, Dublin City;
Constance de Markieviz, deputy for St. Patricks, Dublin City; Eoin MacNeill, deputy for National University and Derry City; Frank Lawless, deput}^ for North County Dublin; George Gavan Duffy, deputy for South County Dublin; Desmond Fitzgerald, deputy for Pembroke, County Dublin; John O’Mahony, deputy for South Fermanagh; Padruig O’Maille, deputy for Connemara, County Galway; Brian Cusack, deput}^ for North Galway; Liam Mellowes, deputy for East Galway and North Meath; Francis Fahy, deputy for South Galway; J. Crowley, deputy for North” Kerry; Austin Stack, deputy for West Kerry; Fionan Lynch, deputy for South Kerry; Piaras Beaslai, deputy for East Kerry; Daniel Bucklev, deputy for North Kildare; Art O’Connor, deputy for South Kildare; W. T. Cosgrave, deputy for North Kilkenny; James O’Mara, deputy for South Kilkenny; Patrick McCartan, deputy for Offaly (Kings County) ; James N. Dolan, deputy for Leitrim County; M. P. Colivet, deputy for Limerick City;
Cornelius Collins, deputy for West Limerick; Richard Hayes, deputy for East Limerick; Joseph McGuinness, deputy for Longford County; J. J. O’Kelly, deputy for Louth County; J. Crowley, deputy for North Mayo; Joseph McBride, deputy for West Mayo; William Sears, deputy for South Mayo; E. J. Duggan, deputy for South Meath; Ernest Blythe, deputy for North Monaghan; John MacEntee,^ deputy for South Monaghan; Kevin O’Higgins, deputy for Leix (Queens County) ; George Noble Count Plunkett, deputy for North Roscom- mon; Henry Boland, deputy for South Roscommon; J. J. Clancy, deputy for North Sligo; Alex McCabe, deputy for South Sligo; Joseph McDonagh, deputy for North Tipperary; James A, Burke, deputy for Middle Tipperary; P. J. Moloney, deputy for South Tipperary; Cathal Brugha, deputy for Waterford County; Laurence Ginnell, deputy for Westmeath County; James Ryan, deputy for South Wexford; Robert C. Barton, deputy for West Wicklow; John R. Etchingham, deputy for East Wicklow.