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Lowry Will Oppose Mercosur Deal

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

“The Mercosur deal which would allow Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina to access EU markets is a bad deal for our Irish farmers”, Tipperary Independent Deputy Michael Lowry stated yesterday.

The Deputy continued, “This deal will result in what is estimated to be an extra 99,000 tonnes of beef emanating from these four South American countries, causing untold damage to our Irish beef farming sector”.

“I have already informed the Minister for Agriculture Mr Michael Creed that Ireland should not endorse this agreement in its present format. Although the EU has promised to protect food standards and environmental factors as part of the deal on imported beef, farmers here are already feeling uncertain about the fallout of a potential no Brexit deal”, he continued.

Deputy Lowry further stated, “We will need to see our Minister for Agriculture and our Taoiseach fight for the Irish beef farmers at EU level. How can we enforce a guarantee against the risk of undocumented and potentially infected animal breeds, should this deal be ratified. We must not overlook the issues regarding standards when it comes to beef coming from Brazil. Traditionally Brazil has been permitted to export its beef, despite standards not reflecting those of the EU.”

“The environmental impacts in terms of the carbon footprint used by exporting this amount of beef , as well as the problems associated with deforestation in Brazil, means that this deal, if ratified, is even more damaging to the environment than it is to our Irish beef sector. Brazil currently maintains record levels of deforestation”.

Concluding Deputy Lowry stated, “I do recognise that the Mercosur deal does potentially opens markets for Europe’s motor industry, financial services and telecommunications; signalling hugely beneficial opportunities. However, our Government needs to be mindful of the market disruption to our own agricultural sector, which will undoubtedly cause huge financial losses to our beef producers. Our rural communities are already at risk with falling beef prices, and the overall uncertainty of Brexit. Therefore, I have called on the Government to vehemently oppose the ratification of this Mercosur deal on behalf of farming communities in Tipperary and countrywide.


Farm Accident Takes Life Of Tipperary Man

A man in his fifties; a resident of Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary, has died following a tragic farm accident. The victim has been named locally as Mr Philip Lonergan and the accident occurred near Glenville, Co Cork last evening, at about 5:00pm.

Discovered by Gardaí, who were called to the property; it is understood that Mr Lonergan sustained fatal injuries when his tractor overturned, while he was spreading slurry in a field and despite treatment by emergency services; he died before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital.

Following this tragic accident, his body was removed to the mortuary at Cork University Hospital where a post-mortem examination will be carried out and a file will be prepared for the local Coroner following an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.


Ireland’s air pollutant emissions – Wrong Pathway For Cleaner Air

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on 2017 emission levels for the five main air pollutants.

These figures show that ammonia emissions increased by 2% cent in 2017. The trend in increasing ammonia emissions is projected to continue out to 2030.
Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds also increased. Ireland is projected to exceed the 2030 emission ceiling for this pollutant.
While emissions of nitrogen oxides decreased in 2017, emissions are projected to be non-compliant with national limits in 2030.
Emissions of two other air pollutants; sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, decreased in 2017. These pollutants are projected to remain compliant with national limits, provided planned measures are implemented.

The EPA today published figures for emissions of five key air pollutants. These pollutants impact environment and health contributing to respiratory problems and pollution of soil, surface water and vegetation. These pollutants are: ammonia, non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

This latest information from the EPA shows that ammonia emissions increased by 2% in 2017, which followed a 5% increase in 2016. Agriculture dominates emissions of ammonia, which arise from the decomposition of animal manures and the application of fertiliser. This trend in increasing emissions is projected to continue out to 2030.

In addition, emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds showed an increase in 2017. These pollutants arise from the food and beverage industry and the storage and handling of animal manures and synthetic fertilisers. Non-methane volatile organic compound emissions are projected to increase slightly to 2030 as the gains from switching to less polluting sources are outweighed by increased economic activity and population growth. Ireland is therefore projected to exceed the more challenging 2030 non-methane volatile organic compounds emission ceiling, despite being in compliance for 2020.

Dr Eimear Cotter, (Director of Office of Environmental Sustainability) said: “Our figures show that ammonia levels are on an upward trend, in tandem with increased agricultural production, and that they breached national limits in 2016 and 2017. This has implications for air and water quality.The National Air Pollution and Control Programme, currently out for public consultation, will need to address these emissions particularly as they are projected to increase further to 2030. The underlying driver for these emissions is the application of more animal manure to soils — mostly as an organic fertiliser — and the increase in the use of inorganic fertilisers. Options to increase efficiencies and reduce fertiliser use will need to be implemented at farm level.”

Emissions of other air pollutants – sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter – decreased in 2017. This reflects a general downward trend in emissions since 1990 reflecting the impact of fuel switching from coal and peat to natural gas, penetration of renewables and technology improvements. Looking to the future, however, while sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions are projected to remain compliant with substantially lower national limits in 2030, provided planned measures are implemented, this is not envisaged to be the case for nitrogen oxide emissions. Nitrogen oxide emissions are projected to be non-compliant with national limits in 2030, with the transport sector projected to continue to be a key source of emissions.

Stephen Treacy, (EPA Senior Manager) said: “We have seen the positive impact of a range of policy measures and regulatory interventions since 1990 which are particularly evident in declining sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions. Fuel switching and the move to more renewables has brought dividends in terms of cleaner air, with effective regulatory intervention from the EPA also playing a role. It is important that this good work is not reversed in the context of a growing economy. Further measures are needed to meet national limits in the period from now to 2030, particularly for the pollutants ammonia, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds”.

For further detail on these figures, see the EPA web published report “Ireland’s Air Pollutant Emissions 1990-2030” available HERE


Tipperary Farmer Patrick Quirke Found Guilty Of Murder

Central Criminal Court, Dublin

A jury, latter which began deliberating last Tuesday afternoon, after a 15-week trial; today has found 50-year-old farmer Mr Patrick Quirke, from Breanshamore, in Co Tipperary guilty of murdering his love rival.

Mr Quirke had denied the murder of 52-year old Mr Bobby Ryan, a quarry worker and a part-time DJ known as “Mr Moonlight”. The jury delivered its verdict after 20 hours and 39 minutes of deliberation.

Today, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon offered her deepest condolences to the Ryan family before sentencing Mr Quirke to life in prison.

Mr Ryan had disappeared on June 3rd 2011, after he had left widow Mrs Mary Lowry’s farm earlier on that morning, however the prosecution could not give an exact time or location of the killing and had failed to identify a murder weapon. The individual pieces of evidence when put together, nevertheless, appeared to weave a logical series of strands which would eventually communicate, to the jury, the guilt of the accused man.

Mr Quirke had been best friends with Mrs Lowry’s late husband, Mr Martin Lowry, latter who died in September 2007, and the jury would learn that he was also best man at Mr Quirke’s own wedding. After Mr Martin Lowry death, Mr Quirke had offered to his widow, his support on the farm, with their friendship eventually developing into a closer relationship. Following this relationship ending, Mr Quirke continued to gain access to Mrs Lowry’s farm, under a seven-year lease agreement.

Mr Ryan’s decomposed body had been located stripped naked; left in a run-off tank, covered with a concrete slab; before being discovered by the said Mr Quirke himself in 2013. A post-mortem examination later showed Mr Ryan had died from blunt force trauma. He had suffered multiple fractures to his skull and to his ribs and leg. An entomologist (insect expert) gave evidence in court that the body, which had been sealed in an airtight tank, had been subjected to a single insect infestation in the weeks prior to the accused man, Mr Patrick Quirke, informing Gardaí, that he had discovered a body.

The defence had argued that the case against Mr Quirke was based on theory and not on any hard evidence; it was, they believed, forensically barren and the investigation itself was less than the highest standards required. The defence had warned the jury against conviction, based on what same held as mere circumstantial evidence.

After closing arguments from both the prosecution and the defence, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon had urged the jurors to look on the evidence submitted in the case, with a critical mind.

The Jury found Mr Patrick Quirke guilty today of the murder Mr Ryan by a ten to two majority verdict, at the Central Criminal Court, Dublin.


Free Irish Wildflower Seeds For Tipperary Farmers

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus.)

Farmers across Co. Tipperary can obtain free Irish native wildflower seeds at nine different cattle marts here in the county, during the month of March 2019. Some 1,000 farmers will receive these seeds, and are expected to participate in a ‘Pollination Plan’, thus aiding conservation here in Co. Tipperary this year.

The overall aim of the gifting of these free seeds, is to use deep-rooted perennial plants to recycle leached ground minerals, to combat drought and through flowering; to attract beneficial insects onto farmland to assist with pest management.

Following a recent National Biodiversity Conference held last February, Design By Nature decided it would be best to introduce farmers to the benefits of native wildflowers with a simple seed mixture, that would grow across a wide variety of soil types and farming situations.

Free Seed Packs

The information contained with each seed pack will be accompanied by links to websites containing information on farm supports and other research material, latter undertaken at Teagasc, into attracting pollinators to farm crops.

The 30 seed species contained in these seed packs include perennials such as birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus); clover and vetch, latter to fix nitrogen loss; yarrow and wild carrot, to recycle lost nutrients; together with many flowering perennials to attract absent and declining insects life.

Sandro Cafolla – founder of Design By Nature and provider of these free seed packs, is asking farmers that fail or choose not to make full use of these free seeds on their land, to give them instead to local schools or Tidy Towns groups, who would readily use them instead.