ICSA calls for restrictions on access to Fodder Transport Scheme to be lifted

Farmers urged to submit forage budget farm through Teagasc.

‘Department needs to reconsider the overly restrictive parameters of the scheme and open it up to any farmer who needs fodder.’

‘Those of us in the border counties can’t wait any longer.’

Sligo News File.

The ICSA is urging farmers to complete a forage budget form through Teagasc or FAS approved advisor in order for the Fodder Transport Scheme to be fully activated in fodder affected counties.



Commenting following a meeting with Teagasc staff in Longford on Friday, Cavan ICSA chairman Hugh Farrell said that for regions or whole counties to access the scheme, “local Teagasc officials have to be satisfied that adequate fodder is not available locally and must be transported in from another part of the country.

“The only way they can be satisfied of this need is through farmers completing a Forage Budget form in sufficient numbers.”

“This means that farmers who wish to access the scheme are prohibited from doing so if enough of their county neighbours haven’t also expressed a need.

“Essentially, farmers are operating in the dark with regards to this scheme as it will not be activated in an area until a magic, undisclosed number has been reached,” he said.

ICSA Sligo chairman Gabriel Gilmartin added, “ICSA believes that this goes against the whole spirit of the scheme which was to help farmers in dire need and to prevent animal welfare issues down the line.

“The Department needs to reconsider the overly restrictive parameters of the scheme and open it up to any farmer who needs fodder.” This was echoed by Jim Harrison, ICSA
Connacht/Ulster Vice president, who said there was no reason for the scheme not to be fully operational.

“Those of us in the border counties can’t wait any longer.”

Blood testing facilities for Lyme disease ‘relatively primitive’ – Scanlon

Number of cases on the increase.

Now upwards of 100 occurrences annually.

Sligo News File.

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by some ticks, is on the increase. Upwards of 100 cases annually are being recorded. However, blood samples have to be sent abroad for testing as facilities in Ireland are ‘relatively primitive.’

Eamon Scanlon,  TD

The issue has been raised in the Dail this week by Sligo TD Eamon Scanlon who has called for the setting up of a blood testing service for the disease in Ireland.

Scanlon said in a statement that an increase in the number of cases is being diagnosed, “but awareness levels and testing methods still remain relatively primitive.”

The disease, he said is “very debilitating,” and “early detection can make a huge difference to sufferers.

“Last year I met with one of the support groups, Tick Tock, and they explained the issues with the current testing methods here. At the moment, samples have to be sent abroad in order to secure the most reliable results. This not only takes time, it can be extremely expensive.

“I understand that GPs are not fully trained to deal with Lyme disease, but it is crucial that they are brought up to speed on it. The earlier it is detected the faster it can be treated. This would make a huge difference to people living with it.

“I also find it difficult to understand how there is no facility available in Ireland to accurately test for the disease. We have excellent hospitals and laboratories in this country and it would make more sense for us to carry out the tests here at home rather than having to send samples abroad.”

Scanlon said he had been informed by Minister Harris that “a study is underway to examine how Ireland is dealing with Lyme disease compared to other countries.

“I will be following up with the Minister once that study is completed,” he said.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by some ticks. Symptoms may include a rash, fever, chills, headache and fatigue. It’s indicated that infection can spread to the brain, nervous system, muscles, joints, heart and other organs of the body.