‘Wilful misrepresentation of the actual research’

Sligo News File

Dermot Kelleher, president. Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has slammed moves by the EU to block funding for red meat promotion as a wilful misrepresentation of the actual research. “The EU seems to be blaming red meat consumption for increased cancer risk whereas the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report on behalf of the World Health Organisation (WHO) only found a marginal increased risk in the case of processed meats. It could not find sound evidence regarding unprocessed red meats.

“It is important to note that the research actually suggests that additives and processes such as smoking meat are likely the issue in the case of processed meats. Even then, a substantial consumption of processed meat every day only led to a 1% higher lifetime risk. One problem with a lot of epidemiological studies is that it is difficult to single out meat eating when other factors such as obesity or smoking and alcohol consumption apply.

“The reality is that the EU is taking a very ideological position on red meat that is not supported by incontrovertible evidence. A balanced diet with a focus on reducing or eliminating ultra-processed foods is still likely to be a better strategy. It is worrisome that the EU appears to be supporting highly processed plant burgers over real meat. Apart from the fact that it is not based on robust evidence, it is distorting fair competition and actually undermining highly nutritious food produced by EU livestock farmers.

“The question that I am asking is whether the member state governments have sanctioned this and what position did Ireland take? This comes on top of the EU Nutriscore proposals which is a highly contentious and potentially reckless effort to reduce assessment of food to a traffic light score card.  ICSA has already spoken at major EU conferences, including the Global Food Forum (organised by Farm Europe) in November, against the use of the Nutriscore. The Nutriscore is based on algorithms that almost nobody understands, and as a result highly processed junk food can end up being scored as better than nutritious beef or lamb.

“We need a lot more transparency around who is making these decisions and what lobbying is being carried out by big food corporations. Moreover, the investment by big international investors in plant-based food needs to be carefully examined. The risk is that health and climate change are being hi-jacked as a way of generating returns for billionaire investors. While we cannot stop consumer choice, the EU should not be used as a vehicle to assist these investments generate bigger returns based on flimsy research assessment.  It is all too easy for big corporations to generate a level of hysteria to suit their own interests, but the EU should not be a party to this.”

Death of man following Mayo road collision

Others injured in crash

Sligo News File

Gardai are investigating following a Mayo road collision in which a man in his 30s was fatally injured. He is understood to have been a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the accident on the N60 between Breaffy and Castlebar at about 5.50 pm last evening.

A number of others were injured. It’s believed the injuries are not life-threatening.

The road will remain closed overnight.

Israel preparing to administer fourth Covid vaccine

Surge in Omicron cases

Sligo News File

Israel is preparing to lead with a FOURTH dose of the coronavirus vaccine

According to reports, Israeli authorities will administer the vaccine to people 60 and over in a bid to arrest the surge in outbreaks of Omicron infections in the country.

The decision follows the death of a patient there from the Omicron variant.

More than 10,000 cases of the Omicron virus have occurred in the UK where health experts have warned of a potential wide scale of hospitalizations from the disease.

In Ireland, there has been a surge in cases of Omicron among people in the 16 to 34 age group. Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said a substantial rise in infections would occur as the variant spreads across the country.



‘Conditionality attached to BEAM monies flawed’

 Sligo News File

Edmund Graham, chairman ICSA Beef Committee

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has said the conditionality attached to BEAM monies was so flawed that the Department of Agriculture must revisit every aspect of the scheme. “BEAM stands for Beef Exceptional Aid Measure; as the full title indicates it was exceptional aid – which was secured to help beef farmers who had suffered horrendous losses during the winter of 2018 and going in to 2019. It should have been distributed quickly and painlessly to those who needed it most. Instead, what we got is a scheme that will see perhaps over €19 million in penalties, or 25% of the money that was originally applied for,” he said.

“Due to the difficulties in meeting the conditionality targets set in BEAM, around 10,500 farmers deferred the period in which they needed to reduce the amount of bovine livestock manure nitrogen produced by 5%. Those farmers are now approaching their 31 December 2021 deadline for achieving this. However, figures from the Department of Agriculture indicate that 8,300 of these farmers are set to miss the target. This means that these 8,300 farmers face having to repay some or all of this exceptional aid in the new year.

“Farmers accept that conditionality is part and parcel of most schemes, in that you must meet certain requirements to get paid. That is fair enough, but aid money given to farmers in response to a crisis should never have been weighed down with conditionality that that was so cumbersome and difficult to achieve – mainly down to delays in getting accurate figures from the Department.

“It must also be remembered that BEAM was looked for and secured in 2019, but the timeframe to meet the targets coincided with the arrival of a global pandemic. Lockdowns, restrictions, and mart closures all had an impact on the day to day functioning of every farming enterprise. It also seriously impacted farmers’ ability to meet the BEAM requirements.

“Already we have had BEAM monies taken back from farmers who did not opt to defer and were unable to meet the target, and now the prospect of adding another 8,000 farmers to their number is looming. It is unconscionable that the Department will seek to recoup approximately €14.5m from hard pressed beef farmers come the spring. This is on top of €5.2 million already recouped from farmers who did not meet the original targets for the period ending 30 June 2021, and who did not defer. 

“So, we are looking at a situation where a scheme which was originally meant to deliver exceptional aid of €100 million, may actually end up delivering barely more than half the original target. By any key performance indicator, this is a disastrous outcome when the original objective was to deliver €100 million in badly needed aid to beef farmers.

“It is now incumbent on the Department of Agriculture to review BEAM in its entirety. A solution must be found that allows farmers to retain as much of this aid as possible.”

New rules as Covid infections hit record highs

More than 5,000 cases reported yesterday

Sligo News File

With no sign of a drop in outbreaks of the Covid virus and now the emergence of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the disease, further restrictions on movement and trade seem inevitable.

According to health authorities, 5,124 cases were recorded in 24 hours yesterday.

Ryan, the Green minister is reportedly among the latest to test positive for the infectious condition.

Deaths worldwide number 5,370,270 to date.

Meanwhile, thousands have demonstrated against government-imposed restrictions in several EU and other states.




‘Compulsory LESS slurry spreading for a large proportion of active livestock farmers by 2025’

Sligo News File 

ICSA Rural Development chairman Tim Farrell has said that the draft Nitrates Action Programme, published Tuesday 14 December adds extra cost, red tape and restrictions and it is particularly unfair for less intensive farmers who do not benefit from higher stocking rates.

“The programme envisages compulsory LESS slurry spreading for a large proportion of active livestock farmers by 2025 (i.e., those stocked above 100kg organic nitrogen/ha). This is a very low stocking rate to have to carry the cost of compulsory LESS spreading. It is also impractical particularly for farmers with conventional slurry spreaders who spread their own slurry from smaller slatted sheds, and where the cost of large contractor machines even for a few loads of slurry will be prohibitive.

“ICSA is also opposed to a further limitation on the spreading period for slurry. We have seen many times that slurry is spread effectively in October where weather permits. This is especially true where August and September turn out to be very wet months. In short, farmers are frustrated at calendar farming rules which have been shown, time and time again, to be a poor substitute for good farming practices which allow for variable weather patterns.”

ICSA is also concerned at the proposal to vary the organic nitrogen attributed to cows based on yield. “It strikes us totally unworkable in practice, and probably unenforceable in the case of farms which are close to the limits for a particular yield. However, from a bigger picture point of view, it is a clear incentive to farmers to move towards lower milk yield (but higher solids) Jersey and Kiwi cross cows. We must have a more holistic view of policy. Encouraging more Jersey cross will be extremely damaging to our beef sector, and it should not be encapsulated in any regulations.

“ICSA is warning the Government to think long and hard before further damaging the beef sector by further undermining the beef merit of calves born in the dairy herd.”

Mass killing of unborn innocents

Dail hears thousands put to death under Ireland’s abortion laws

Sligo News File


Deputy Peader Toibin, TD

 Deputy Peader Toibin told the Dail this week that in the first two years of abortion in Ireland, 13,243 babies had their lives ended by the State abortion services.

He said: “By the end of this month, 20,000 individual living, human beings will have their lives ended by the State. That is an incredible situation on the basis of legislation passed by the Minister of State’s party (Fine Gael) the Labour Party, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and People before Profit.

“That is 127 babies a week that are losing their lives in this State because of this particular law.

“It is equivalent to the total to 850 classrooms of children who will never make it to school, who will never get to live and grow up, like the Members who were sitting here a number of minutes ago.

“In the North of Ireland the Sinn Féin MLAs voted against children with disabilities being able to make it to full term. They voted for abortion right up until birth for a child with disabilities.

“When it comes to this law, these same political parties will argue that the State imposes in legislation rights for animals. Indeed we have those rights for animals in law in this State. It states ‘A person shall not … perform an operation or procedure … involving interference with the sensitive tissue or bone structure of an animal … without the use of an appropriate anaesthetic’.

“Yet, the same right is not being afforded to individual living human beings during late-term abortions in this State.

“There is a cruelty. There is a lack of compassion. There is a lack of sympathy in the ideology that forces these political parties to ignore completely the humanity of these living individual human beings.”

Deputy  Tóibín was speaking during a Dail debate on the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021.



Young People Represent Group Most Opposed To Euthanasia

Press Release issued by Students for Life Ireland 1 October 2020

Students for Life Ireland have today confirmed their opposition to the euthanasia Bill currently before the Dáil. Spokesperson for the group, Clara Terren Hogan, a Medical Student in NUI Galway, said: “An Amarach Research Opinion poll commissioned by RTE’s Claire Byrne Show last year revealed that those aged between 18 and 24 years are the group most opposed to legalised euthanasia, with only 48% indicating they are in favour of assisted suicide. On the other hand euthanasia is supported by 60% of 25 to 34 year-olds. I wonder if this is because younger people are more likely to have a living grandparent and if this variable influences their views on euthanasia?”

Ms Hogan continued: “There is widespread opposition to this bill from those in the medical profession, with both the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland and the Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants Association coming out against the Bill. The reason we are opposing this bill is because we’ve listened to and read all the evidence – it is well documented that in countries where euthanasia is legalised the vulnerable, the elderly and people who have disabilities can feel immense pressure to end their own lives – feelings that they are a burden on society and their families. Shockingly in California where assisted suicide is legal, health insurance companies will cover the costs associated with euthanasia but not the cost of chemotherapy”.

“Legalising euthanasia, especially in light of the scandalous situation in nursing homes at the start of the pandemic, would be a hugely regressive move. We should be promoting a message of inclusivity, compassion and equality – working to create an Ireland where everyone feels welcome and where nobody is left feeling as though they are a burden on society. As a medical student, I want to save lives, to protect lives and care for people with love and compassion when they are at their most vulnerable. If euthanasia was legalised, people like me would be expected to end the lives of our patients. Students for Life Ireland wish to encourage everyone to contact their local TDs and encourage them to oppose the Bill at the debate this evening”, concluded Ms Terren Hogan.

The Bill, introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny in October 2020 has since been rejected at the pre-Committee Stage by the Oireachtas’ Committee on Justice who ruled that it will not be proceeding further.



‘Threats to decapitate Catholics in the name of the Quran’

A recent terrorist incident in Nanterre, France has shaken the Catholic world.

The violent Islamist attack on a Marian Procession has barely made a dent in the secular media however, with mainstream European news outlets refusing to carry the story of torches being swiped from faithful, a priest being spat on by Islamists and threats to decapitate Catholics in the name of the Quran.

Now, images have emerged of Mass in the town being supervised by police as the threats were eerily similar to events in recent years in Normandy and Nice, where a priest and parishioners had their heads severed from their bodies during Mass.

-report courtesy of Catholic Arena.

For more click

Traffic delays on N15 at Drumcliffe

Contractor working on behalf of HSE

Sligo News File

A Contractor working on behalf of the HSE will be carrying out roadworks on the traffic calming Island and road re-alignment works on N15 National Primary Road at Drumcliffe North.  The works say Sligo County Council will be taking place from Tuesday 14th December to Thursday 16th  December inclusive.   Traffic lights and a stop go system will be in place and traffic reduced to a single lane.   Delays are to be expected.

Scale of Covid infections sparking increasing concern

Thousands more cases reported

Sligo News File

New infections of Covid are alarming medical experts. Health authorities have reported some 4,667 cases of the disease in the last 24 hours.

With more than 500 people hospitalised, 110 of them in intensive care, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan is said to be very concerned about the ongoing volume of outbreaks.

Despite the opposition to restrictions, the indications are that further government curtailment of activities is likely to follow in the period ahead.

In the UK, the government has raised the Covid alert to level four owing to the high transmission rate of the Omicron variant of the disease and the growing pressure on its health service. 

Cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in Ireland.


High-speed broadband not speeding to town in Mayo

‘Several years before a connection becomes available to international exporter’

Sligo News File

To help Minister for Enterprise Robert Troy understand problems being experienced by business in Mayo , Ballina-based Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary said he would “try to give him a sense of real broadband issues.”

He went on to explain to Troy that a leading domestic and international exporting company operating out of a small town for nearly 90 years cannot get access to proper broadband to allow it to e-tail the company and provide a better service to its customers, both retail and wholesale.

As well, the town “will not be included in the national broadband plan for several years. Those are the day-to-day challenges facing enterprises in our regions,” said Calleary in the course of a Dail debate.

Minister reveals the millions of euros allocated to the IDA

‘The agency provides a wide range of financial assistance to companies’

Sligo News File

Questioned by Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh about the scale of funding provided to the IDA, Minister of State for Enterprise Robert Troy said the agency was allocated €124.6m Exchequer funding in 2011, in 2012 it was allocated €121.8m and in 2013 €124.5m. This, he continued, rose in 2014 to €130.6m and €135.3m in 2015. In 2016 the IDA was allocated €163.7m, rising to €179.3m in 2017 and €180.8 in 2018. In 2019 the IDA was funded in the amount of €214.5m and €189.2m in 2020.

Troy said the IDA “offers a wide range of financial assistance to companies wishing to locate and / or expand their existing operation in Ireland including and not restricted to; capital grants, employment grants, training grants and research and development and environmental supports.”

Grant payments are only one measure of performance, it also “supports client companies through a range of offerings.”

In addition to supporting potential investors through financial supports, the IDA “facilitates site visits, introductions and assists companies with property solutions,” he added




‘We need the deadline to be extended so that these glitches can be ironed out’

Sligo News File

ICSA rural development chairman Tim Farrell has called on the Department of Agriculture to extend today’s deadline for GLAS 1, 2 and 3 participants to roll over their contracts into next year. “Participants were called upon to respond via text message indicating if they wished to carry on with the scheme. However, ICSA understands that some text responses are not getting through to the Department if they are sent using some of the smaller mobile networks. We need the deadline to be extended so that these glitches can be ironed out,” he said.

“The difficulty has only come to light because some participants who have replied to the Department’s text – and presumed those texts were delivered – have subsequently been advised that no communication from them has been received.

“Only when participants receive a text reply from the Department stating, DAFM: We have received your reply can you be sure the text has gone through.”

 Mr Farrell said it is difficult to know how many farmers have been affected by this, but that no one should miss out on continuing with GLAS through no fault of their own. “This is a new way of communicating with the Department for many and some flexibility will need to be shown.”