Category Archives: Farming

ICSA PUSHES CASE FOR REGULATION OF FOOD CHAIN MARGINS WITH COMMISSIONER

‘…we must have transparency around how profits from key products are shared…”

ICSA met with EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels today (18th December)  and pushed the case for regulation and examination of margins in the retail food chain which apply to key farm products.

ICSA President, Patrick Kent
ICSA President, Patrick Kent

“ICSA believes that we must have transparency around how the profits from key products like beef, lamb and dairy are shared between farmers, processors and retailers,” said ICSA president Patrick Kent.

“ICSA is proposing that the EU Commission needs to introduce a pan-European regulator which would have power to audit the whole retail chain and discern whether there was a fair share of margins allocated to all parts of the chain. 

“ICSA argues that the past twelve months provide ample evidence that farmers are not getting a fair share of the final retail price, in beef for instance.  We believe that this must be the business of the EU Commission given that the success of the CAP is being undermined by farmers losing money in the marketplace. “

According to Mr Kent, Commissioner Hogan was receptive to the ICSA proposals.  “The Commissioner accepts that there is a problem and acknowledges that ICSA has a point in calling for transparency around retail and processing margins.  ICSA believes that where there is abuse of margins, the Commission-appointed regulator
should have the power to impose fines.  In the first instance however, the key requirement is that the regulator would have
power to audit the margins along the retail chain at processor and retailer level.”

ICSA also raised the issue of LPIS overclaim penalties and emphasised that the penalties were very unfair.  “Farmers
are being pulled between environmental demands and agricultural requirements and it is impossible to meet both,” said Mr. Kent.

“ICSA emphasised that these penalties were almost exclusively imposed on farmers on marginal land.  It was accepted that farmers should be entitled to certainty around their applications and should not be at risk of penalties due to ever changing regulations or mapping changes.”

The ICSA delegation, consisting of president Patrick Kent, beef vice-chairman Tom Egan and general secretary Eddie Punch, also raised the problems around the hen harrier designation and the commonage GLAS plans with Commissioner Hogan. 

“The Commissioner seemed anxious to ensure that the commonage GLAS issue could be solved, especially around the contentious requirement for collective agreement,” said Mr. Kent.

In conclusion, Patrick Kent said that the meeting was useful and he looked forward to ongoing dialogue with the Commissioner
and his team. 

Closure of rural post offices averted.

‘Future of network secured.’

Sligo News File Online.

Tony McLoughlin, TD
Tony McLoughlin, TD

Amid fears upwards of 700 local post offices were set to close, Sligo-Leitrim Fine Gael TD, Tony McLoughlin has revealed the future of the services has been secured.

The Coalition it seems is proposing to establish a dedicated business development group with a mandate to “examine opportunities to deliver more government and commercial business through  our post offices.”

McLoughlin says this has come about as a result of a Government review of the post office network announced earlier in the year.

He describes the seeming bold new future now being mapped for the service as the Government “moving towards making our post offices the front office of government.”

The business group, he states, will seek ways to increase the level of government and commercial business going through the post office network.

‘Savage assault’ on member of ICSA National Executive.

Warning on buying goods through advertisements.

Sligo News File Online.

ICSA Leinster vice-president Joe O’Toole has warned farmers to be vigilant when responding to sales advertisements.

“We have recently received a disturbing report of a savage assault on a member of our national executive who had responded to an advertisement of a jeep for sale. He was given directions to a particular location which turned out to be a cul-de-sac, and he and his girlfriend were viciously attacked when they arrived there. He ended up in hospital, and it was only by pure luck that no
money was taken,” said Mr. O’Toole.

“Reports from around the country suggest that this may not
be an isolated incident, and people need to be vigilant.”

“Obviously these are matters for the Gardaí, but ICSA is urging people to take every precaution in such situations. We would advise that people only arrange to view or pay for goods in a safe, public
location and never go alone. If you have any suspicions, report them to Gardaí.”

MEAT INDUSTRY IRELAND COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR ROUNDTABLE PROCESS – ICSA

‘…processors have no intention of abiding by recent agreement.’

Sligo News File Online.

ICSA Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan
ICSA Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has accused Meat Industry Ireland of completely disregarding the recent roundtable agreement.

“It seems quite clear that meat processors have no intention of abiding by the recent agreement. They are ignoring the commitment to end dual pricing and are showing total disregard for the roundtable process,” said Mr. Phelan.

“Once again the factories are showing their clear disdain for the primary producer, the farmer on whom their business depends. How can farmers be expected to have any confidence in this process when factories obviously don’t take it seriously?”

“Factories have also been dragging their feet on expanding the Quality Assured bonus to include all steers and heifers and to date there has been no engagement with farmers on this.”

ICSA WELCOMES MINISTER’S STATEMENT ON BEEF AGREEMENT.

‘Vitally important stakeholders adhere to letter and spirit of agreement’ – Phelan.

Sligo News File Online

ICSA has welcomed Minister Coveney’s reminder that as part of the recent beef roundtable deal, processors agreed that there would be no dual base pricing for steers and heifers in individual plants
regardless of breed, age, weight or quality assurance status.

ICSA Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan
ICSA Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan

“In the light of recent reports of factories quoting different base prices for non-quality assured animals, the Minister’s statement is welcome,” said ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan.

“It is vitally important that all stakeholders adhere to and fully implement both the letter and the spirit of the agreement if farmers are to have any faith in the process.”

 

Sligo Focus.

‘Round the County.

 Sligo News File Online.

WEEK FROM 15 OCTOBER 2014

 Millions of euros for ‘powerless’ councils.

 It seems the Coalition has rolled out ‘powerless’ bodies which are costing the country millions of euros.

According to reports, the system has been slammed as “a farce” by long-time Independent councillor, Declan Bree in comments on the status of the Sligo Municipal District Council.

The district body, he declared, was nothing more than a sub committee of the county council.

“We have no powers whatsoever”, he insisted. 

All of which raises what should be public concern as to the function bodies without statutory powers serve, and if their abolition would not save millions of euros in councillor allowances and expenses which could be more profitably invested in our overstretched hospital and care services.

Chairman of the Sligo District council is Fianna Fail member, Cllr. Tom MacSharry. The South West Sligo municipal council is chaired by Cllr. Martin Baker, Fianna Fail.

Tubbercurry. The town has lots of space for industry but jobs are ‘walking’. Public servants in the local government offices are being transferred to Ballina, and Aurivo, the co-operative, is switching its headquarters to Sligo. Councillors Gormley and Lundy have been raising concerns but it doesn’t appear to have attracted any great attention. President of the Chamber Romould Mullarkey now wants the government to launch a task force to help stimulate local business and employment opportunities.

Easkey. West Sligo Family Resource Centre are said to be calling for bras to be dropped…in a bin at Enniscrone. The ‘Give your Bra’ campaign is in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation, which will receive a euro for every bra donated. A good cause.

The town is also preparing to bring grace and elegance to Enniscrone with a night of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ at the Hotel Diamond Coast. Support for the twenty-two dancers is being requested for the show, which is on Sunday night, 26 October.

Enniscrone. Rev. Eddie Rogan has been welcomed as new curate
in succession to Rev. Kieran Holmes. With Very Rev. George MacHale, Fr. Rogan is one of two priests in the Kilglass parish.

The ‘Irish Garth Brooks Experience’ is a fundraising night of music and dancing organized by Enniscrone National School for tomorrow night, 18 October. Venue is the Ocean Sands Hotel. Tickets are €15.

Castleconnor. Sligo County Council takeover of the local group water scheme is under investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman and the EU. Complaints have been submitted by a farming group in the parish. Meanwhile, it looks that, contrary to claims, water costs for farming in particular are set to soar in the future. The free water allowance for domestic usage has also been slashed, down from  from 181,843 litres (50,000 gallons) to 30,000 litres (6,500 gallons) – a loss of 151,000 litres (or 43,500 gallons)
The takeover of the Castleconnor and other schemes was proposed by Cllr. Margaret Gormley, seconded by Cllr. Joe Queenan, and agreed by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members of the council.

Sympathy is extended to the Mahony and Loughney families on the death of Mary Mahony (nee Loughney) Bunree, Ballina. May she rest in peace.

Congratulations to Paul Hughes who was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Law) degree at UCD. Dr. Hughes is the son of Evelyn and Liam Hughes, Corballa.

Collooney. Village Re-Development is organising a 5 km walk – an annual event. It is being held on Sunday 19 October, with the message ‘all are welcome’.

Beltra. No escaping the demands on water users. Members of the local water scheme are being informed that they need to submit the ‘official’ forms in order to qualify for the household allowance.

Maugherow. The long standing tradition of a Harvest Day is being revived by the owners of Lissadell House. In past years, the occasion was a harvest celebration for workers and tenants on the estate. The event, on next Sunday, 19 October, will showcase food producers and craft makers from the North West of the country, and give visitors an opportunity to sample and purchase from a diverse offering on the day.

Dromore West. A meeting of the Ballygilcash Group Water Supply scheme has elected to retain the supply as a private scheme. Bully for the local community. The scheme is a valuable asset, and unlike Castleconnor and other areas that have surrendered schemes to the county council, the farm families have some leverage in the event Irish Water pricing becomes too top heavy. Water is supplied
from the public Lough Easkey service.

Tireragh. From an informal survey carried out by Sligo News File Online, it appears more people are opting to shop local. Parking charges in Ballina and Sligo are turning shoppers away, as well as which ‘bargains’ as good as, if not better  than on offer in either of the two main towns are to be found locally – everyone also saves on the costs of motoring.    

The late Michael Cawley, Castleconnor.

‘Quiet hero…county has lost one of its finest – a true Gael.’

Sligo News File Online 

Michael Cawley, who died recently. was a highly popular figure in Sligo GAA circles.

The father of three passed away after suffering a heart attack at this home in Attychree, Enniscrone.

A builder by occupation, Michael was active in parish development activities, playing a leading role in progressing projects including the construction of a parish community centre and the area’s group water supply scheme.

His input to the parish Foroige club was immense, encouraging in his easy and persuasive style qualities of leadership and responsibility in the club’s teenage membership which earned him widespread respect and appreciation.

He was also active in the Castleconnor Community Games of which he served as committee chairman.

Michael will be warmly remembered in particular for the major role he played in the successful promotion of Ladies GAA football both at local and county levels where he was heavily involved in coaching and administration. He was part of the County Senior Management in 2002 and 2003.

Paying tribute, former Ladies GAA County Board chairman, Ted Maloney, said Michael was “the quiet hero of the ladies football scene in Castleconnor and throughout the county.

“His contribution to the sport was immeasurable, and more. There was also in and about him a generous friend always ready to give of his very best no matter the call on his time or energies.

“Michael will be solely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. The county has lost one of its finest – a true Gael”.

Michael is survived by his wife, Joan, son Brian and daughters Pamela and Louise.

The Late Owen Gormley, Bunninadden

The funeral took place yesterday of Owen Gormley, Doobeg, Bunninadden.

He was a brother of Cllr. Margaret Gormley, independent member of Sligo County Council.

The deceased is survived by his wife, sons and daughters.

His funeral took place to Cloonameehan Cemetary following Mass of the Resurrection at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Bunninadden.

NO BIDS AT AUCTION OF FORMER MINISTER’S PROPERTIES.

Lots included commercial premises and lands at Ballymote.

Sligo News File Online.

 Properties owned by former minister of state, John Perry failed to attract bidders at auction.

Sligo-Leitrim TD, John Perry
Sligo-Leitrim TD, John Perry

Lots on offer included a commercial property at Teeling Street, Ballymote, and forestry lands at Clooncoose.

No bids were reported to have been made when the properties came up for sale by auction by Dublin-based auctioneers GW2.

Perry (58) of Carrownanty, has been Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim since 1997. He was previously a member of Sligo County Council from 1994 to 2004.

He was dropped as minister of state for small businesses in the ministerial reshuffle a few months ago, in July 2014.

In 2013, Perry and his wife consented to a judgement of €2.4 million against them at the Commercial Court over unpaid loans to Danske Bank.

A few years ago, he became embroiled in an exchange with Ocean FM when he abruptly hung up the phone while being questioned during an interview about the return of cancer services to Sligo. He told a local newspaper he wasn’t answerable to the media. He promised, during the 2011 election campaign, that all breast cancer services would be restored to Sligo General Hospital within 100 days of Fine Gael getting into office.

Since the removal of the services, patients have to travel to Galway for breast surgery.

Perry served as vice-chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications and Natural Resources from September 2002 to October 2004, and was also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. He was appointed minister of state for small business in March 2011. The office has been abolished.