Kiwibank to energise dying rural post office network?

German Sparkassen model for development of local banks also in programme for Government.

Sligo News File Online.

Government kingpin in Regional and Rural Affairs Michael Ring has spoken again of a new future for the rural post office network.

Michael Ring, TD,
Minister of State

The service in the last few years has been left to die by the Fianna Fail backed Coalition, while a new report is recommeding that nearly 100 of the remaining offices be also be killed off.

However, when questioned in the Dail this afternoon, Ring said the “new programme for Government” envisages that An Post, the Irish League of Credit Unions and other interested stakeholders will be asked to investigate and propose a new model of community banking, such as the Kiwibank model in New Zealand.

The Kiwibank model could be delivered through the post office network, he said.

The programme for Government also included a commitment to investigate the “German Sparkassen model for the development of local public banks that operate within well-defined regions.”

What is to become of the An Post commissioned report proposing the closure of 80 more rural offices?

My Department, he said, “is actively working with the Department of Finance to make progress with the commitment in the programme for Government.

“Both Departments are following an agreed work programme on this matter.

“A public consultation was launched on 2 March to seek views on the community banking model. Interested parties are invited to submit their views to my Department by 29 March.”

Processors shearing Clean Livestock Policy at expense of sheep producers

‘Farmers again being forced to carry the can’

Sligo News File Online.

ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has said that the spirit of the Department of Agriculture’s new Clean Livestock Policy for sheep is being ignored by processors in favour of cashing in at the expense of producers.

John Brooks, Chairman,
ICSA National Sheep Committee

When creating the policy the Department envisaged, he said, “that the vast majority of sheep presented for slaughter would fall into Category A, requiring no clipping, however on the ground we are seeing up to 100% of sheep being clipped at certain factories with the full cost applied to the producer.”

He said the “ICSA had feared that this new policy would ultimately be manipulated by processors so the cost burden could be put back on to producers. As a result of this manipulation, evidence would suggest that this is a mandatory processing requirement along the kill line, and as such, the cost should be absorbed by processors. Instead, farmers are once again being forced to carry the can.”

Under the CLP, sheep presented for slaughter would fall into three categories; Category A Satisfactory, Category B Acceptable and Category C Unacceptable.

However, Mr. Brooks said “We still await visuals, in the form of photographs, that will help decipher the category a sheep falls in to. However, there is still confusion as to who will ultimately decide the category and the subjective nature of those decisions. Moreover, while guidelines have been issued to producers, processors, and hauliers regarding CLP, it is notable that penalties are only applied to producers for non-compliance.”

“ICSA does not condone producers bringing sheep for slaughter in an unfit condition, however, this should be an issue between the individual factory and the producer in question. The situation should not be used to cynically extract extra monies from all farmers.”