Make the Bank Holiday weekend ‘a safe and happy time for everyone.’
Sligo News File.
The ICSA has appealed to all road users to be ‘on their guard’ during the Bank holiday weekend as beyond as farm activities intensify.
“It’s a busy time on farms, and there are increased numbers of tractors and other farm machinery using the roads,” the association’s rural development chairman, Seamus Sherlock has warned.
He said that coinciding with the sunny spell and the bank holiday, “patience, as well as extreme caution, must be exercised by everybody using the roads.
“Silage cutting and slurry spreading are in full swing and farms are a hive of activity.”
The ICSA, he said, “is asking farmers to think about safety at all times and never to take unnecessary risks where machinery and equipment are concerned,”
“Slurry gas is also a silent killer and extremely dangerous. Slatted tank agitating points should not be left open for any longer than necessary.
“Farmers also need to be very careful to have proper PTO shafts in place on slurry and silage equipment. It only takes a split second lapse in concentration for accidents to happen, sometimes with tragic and fatal consequences.
“After one of the longest winters in living memory, many farmers are still trying to cope with the financial ramifications and stress associated with dealing with nine months of challenging conditions. It will take more than a few sunny days for farmers who experienced the perfect storm to recover. However, safety must be a priority at all times; it’s a busy time but let’s make it a safe and happy time for everyone,” he added.
Only 4% of €3 million allocation applied for to date.
Sligo News File.
Crime hit rural Ireland is failing to avail of funding for community protecting camera surveillance systems.
The ICSA said money was allocated for CCTV but to date, the take up has been “minuscule.”
A ceremony in Waterford was told that figures released by the Department of Justice show that only 4% of the €3m CCTV funding available has been used.
“Reaching the halfway point in the scheme and with only €120,000 spent indicates a problem somewhere,” said chairman of the ICSA development committee Seamus Sherlock
He said: “An urgent review needs to be carried out at this stage to see how local communities can be further assisted with utilising the scheme.
“Of particular importance is clarification as to whether the Gardaí or local authorities are responsible managing the footage collected.”
Mr. Sherlock was speaking at an event in Waterford Institute of Technology to mark the official handing over of the Agricultural Crime in Ireland reports to the Luke Wadding library. The reports were compiled by Dr Kathleen Moore Walsh, a lecturer in Law and Criminology and Louise Walsh, a lecturer in Accounting and Finance, following the ICSA/WIT Agricultural Crime Survey.
The study examined crimes that occur solely on farms or relating to farming activities.
Mr. Sherlock said the nature and scale of agriculture-specific crime have been well and truly established with the survey and subsequent reports.
“Rural people want more resources in community policing, stiffer sentences for repeat offenders and closer consultation between rural stakeholders, local authorities and An Garda Siochana,” he said.
Measure will cost upwards of €2.5 million per year.
Action taken without consultation with flock owners.
ICSA-led protest at Department of Agriculture later today.
Sligo News File
ICSA is to mount a protest in opposition to the mandatory introduction of EID tagging for all sheep today, Monday 14 May.
ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has said that members of the ICSA sheep committee wish to highlight the mounting anger of sheep farmers against this unnecessary move.
Commenting Mr Brooks said, “The introduction of mandatory EID tagging will cost sheep farmers €2.5m per year. It has been done without warning or consultation at the behest of processors who are the only ones who will benefit. It is unacceptable that sheep farmers should bear all the cost.”
In addition Mr Brooks said, “ICSA is also deeply concerned about the chaotic rollout of the Clean Livestock Policy (CLP) for sheep. We are demanding an immediate review of the implementation of the policy.”
The protest will take place at the Department of Agriculture, Kildare St. Dublin and will start at 12.30pm.
‘Damage to Killery forest and Sligo Way most likely accidental.’
Sligo News File.
Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Scanlon has slammed the decision by the Department of Agriculture to slap fines on farmers whose lands were affected by forest fires on Killery mountain last year.
Hundreds of acres of land on Killery mountain were destroyed in forest fires last May, and a section of the Sligo Way was damaged.
The Sligo-Leitrim Deputy has said that despite the fact money was allocated by the Department of Rural and Community Development to carry out repair work to the
boardwalk on the Sligo Way, the Department of Agriculture is continuing to penalise farmers who did not set the fires.
“The situation on Killery mountain is extremely unfair. There are 33 farmers who are being unfairly penalised by the Department of Agriculture, which has itself recognised the fact that these farmers did not set these fires. I raised this issue with Department officials at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture this week and was extremely disappointed at the approach taken by them.
“The Sligo Way has been an extremely successful tourism initiative, bringing hundreds of people to the area, especially during the Sligo Camino, which took place during May last year. Hotels and B&Bs were booked out over the duration of the walking festival, resulting in a much needed economic boost for Sligo and Leitrim. However, farmers are now paying the price.
“It was unseasonably warm for the time of year, and it has been widely acknowledged that the fires were more than likely started accidentally. In fact, there were forest fires burning in Cork, Kerry and Galway during the same period. Despite this, the farmers in Killery are being penalised.
“The treatment of these farmers is appalling. They’re facing fines or penalties for something outside of their control. This is unbelievably unfair. I am calling on Minister Michael Creed to let common sense prevail and to reverse the decision to penalise these farmers.
“Farmers are already under pressure, the fact that they are facing a reduction in their Basic Payment is inexcusable. The Minister needs to intervene – and I will be continuing to raise this issue with him until there is a satisfactory outcome.”
‘Done without warning or consultation at the behest of processors.’
Sligo News File.
Department of Agriculture proposed electronic identification of all sheep has been denounced as “completely over the top.”
The attack follows the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed that “all sheep, including lambs under twelve months moving directly from the farm for processing, must be EID tagged from 1 October 2018.”
ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks said, “It would appear the Department have been hoodwinked” on the measure.
“This has been done without warning or consultation at the behest of processors.”
He said there was no doubt that the move will benefit efficiency in factories “but there will be no benefit to the primary producer or to the end consumer.
“The sheep farmer will ultimately have to bear all the costs associated and there will be no extra traceability post slaughter, certainly not individual carcass traceability.
“Foisting this on farmers with the reasoning that it’s a market requirement simply does not ring true.”
Continuing Mr Brooks said:
“It would appear the Department have been hoodwinked on this. Up to now even the most ardent supporter of EID tagging consented that it should never be a requirement for lambs moving from farm of origin to the meat plant.
“In addition, there has been no promise of a reduction paperwork for the farmer. Costs have been mounting up for sheep farmers in recent months. In the middle of a busy spring we had the confused roll out of Clean Livestock Policy (CLP) for sheep and now this.
“There is no justification for adding this extra cost burden onto sheep farmers at a time when so many are struggling to stay afloat.”
‘Impossible to expect farmers to do more and more for less and less.’
‘Time for straight talking on CAP funding given MFF cut.
Sligo News File.
Today’s announcement on a proposed 5% cut in CAP funding in the next seven year EU budget “will be very worrying for Irish farmers,” says Patrick Kent.
The ICSA chief was in Brussels for the speech of Commission president Jean Claude Juncker at the European Parliament and the announcement by budget Commissioner Oettinger of detailed Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) proposals.
“It is now time for straight talking on how we can support farmers who face huge challenges especially in the light of Brexit. The 5% cut in CAP which translates into 4% cut in direct payments is unacceptable. It is clear that while Member States are being asked to increase their contribution, the figure of 1.114% of GNI is less than many would have hoped for.
“It is also critical to note that Commissioner Oettinger has also outlined ideas for increased ‘own resources’ for the EU which are highly likely to be controversial and which Ireland will have difficulties with.
“Therefore all options must be explored including national co-financing of direct payments, subject to strict guidelines to ensure fairness for all EU farmers.
“There is no doubt that member states must face up to the funding dilemma but the assumption that the EU can do more in other areas by raiding CAP funds has to be challenged. The focus should really be on more efficient use of EU resources.
“A cut in CAP funding simply cannot be absorbed by Irish farmers.
“It is impossible to expect farmers to do more and more for less and less and this message has to get through.”
Fifteen EU countries already have permission to reset the BPS deadline.
Sligo News File.
ICSA president Patrick Kent is pressing Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to extend the deadline for the submission of applications under the EU Basic Payment Scheme.
Commenting following the announcement that EU commissioner Phil Hogan had already allowed 15 EU States to amend the closing date for the BPS, Mr. Kent said that in light of the move to an online process, “an extension makes perfect sense.
“Applying online may not be that straightforward for many, especially older farmers and those with poor or no internet connectivity, so there needs to be as much flexibility
as possible given.”
He said, “ICSA is aware of the huge efforts put in by the Department of Agriculture on this issue and that BPS clinics have been organised throughout the country. However, 2018 has been an exceptionally difficult year for farming with the extended winter and fodder shortages. Farmers have had a lot to contend with, and many are way behind schedule at this point.
“The choice is there now for Minister Creed to extend the deadline to June 15 and I would urge him to avail of that. It is imperative that no one gets left behind during this transition.”