Department working on ‘more user friendly’ fodder application process – ICSA

Existing subsidy rules ‘difficult to navigate’

Farmers in need of fodder urged to submit Forage Budget form.

Sligo News File

ICSA has met with officials from the Department of Agriculture in Backweston today (7 March) to discuss on-going issues surrounding the Fodder Transport Support Measure launched by Minister Creed in late January.

Following the meeting, ICSA Connaught/Ulster VP Jim Harrison said, “ICSA has received an assurance from the Department that elements of the scheme will now be revisited with a view to making the scheme more user friendly.”

ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell added, “It has become blatantly apparent that the scheme is difficult to navigate as has been evidenced in the low take up to date. This goes against the whole spirit of the scheme which was initiated to help those in dire need. This message has now been taken on board by the Department who will assess where changes can be made in order to make the scheme more workable.”

Concluding, Mr Farrell said he would urge all farmers in need of fodder to complete a Forage Budget form through their local Teagasc office or FAS approved advisor. Anyone requiring assistance in sourcing fodder can also contact their local ICSA representatives or contact ICSA directly on 057 8662120.

Minister says Lough Talt pollution ‘very difficult to resolve’

Extra tankers deployed in affected South Sligo area.

Water shortage in Leitrim threatening Food Hub employing upwards of 80.

Sligo News File

Martin Kenny TD

Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy has said issues surrounding the cryptosporidium contaminated Lough Talt Water Scheme in South Sligo “are very difficult to resolve in a short period of time.”

Replying to questions in the Dail, he said “extra tankers, both mobile and static have been deployed where they are needed “until we can get the problems corrected.”

Deputy Martin Kenny said that “the whole area near Lough Talt has been on a boil water notice for almost a month now. Some 13,000 people, in the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and all across that area, have been on a boil water notice for over a month, but there is no sign of a solution to that problem.

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Local Government.

“We need to put adequate funding and resources in place to ensure that someone, be it Irish Water, the local authorities or whoever, get out there and ensures that people are provided with water.

Deputy Kenny also raised the threat of job losses over water problems in Leitrim where, he said, there has been practically no supply “for the past four days” in the south of the county.

He said the headline in the Leitrim Observer this week states that there will be job losses in the Food Hub, where almost 80 are employed. “Many of those businesses cannot survive without water.

“This is really down to the fact that the facilities have been under-resourced. We do not have enough people on the ground. Leitrim County Council, like every other county council has been on a service contract with Irish Water. The same people are providing the service as before, but no extra money has been forthcoming to provide it.”

An improvement in the water supply to the Food Hub has been reported this evening.

Free Legal aid scheme ‘bonanza for lawyers’ – McGrath.

‘Fine Gael-led governments have spent hundreds of millions on the scheme.’

Sligo News File.

While half-a-million patients are left to suffer for want of medical procedures and thousands of homeless children are forced to endure impossible living conditions, it has been claimed that hundreds of millions have been doled out on free legal aid.

Mattie McGrath,TD, Independent.

Commenting on what he described as a “bonanza for lawyers,” Deputy Mattie Mattie said he understood from parliamentary questions that from 2011 to 2016, Fine Gael-led governments had spent €606 million on the free legal aid scheme.

He said, “We saw recently that a person who had appeared before the courts 102 times got free legal aid. This is a farce and must be regulated.”

When, he asked, “will we stop this gravy train and farce for the unfortunate victims of crime? They get no say, and their taxes pay for free legal aid.”

Responding, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan commented, “I will say for Deputy McGrath’s benefit that the provision of legal aid, be it civil legal aid or criminal legal aid, is a fundamental right—–”

Deputy McGrath: “Of course.”

Fine Gael Justice Minister Deputy Charlie Flanagan.

Deputy Flanagan: “—–for people in this country who are not in a position—–”

Deputy Mattie McGrath: “What about “three strikes and you are out”?

Deputy Flanagan: “—–to afford legal representation in the private sector.”

Deputy McGrath: “A hundred times.”


Deputy Flanagan: “Regarding the recent publication of the annual report on civil legal aid, we have managed in spite of some financial difficulties to ensure that waiting lists have been reduced in the past year or more, and this will continue. As far as criminal legal aid is concerned, which I understand is the point that concerns Deputy Mattie McGrath, I assure the House that a review is ongoing in order to ensure that those who need legal aid are granted it—–”

Deputy McGrath: “How often?”