A Dairy farmer from Athenry in Co. Galway, Mr Joe Healy, has been elected as President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), on the first count.
The post of ‘President’ became vacant following the stepping down, last year, by former President Mr Eddie Downey, after IFA members became angry following revelations of high salaries having been paid at Executive level. These same revelations sparked outrage amongst ordinary grass-roots members, which in turn brought about two high-profile resignations from within the organisation.
Mr Healy, initially regarded as the outsider, appeared almost immediately as the frontrunner, to take over as President of the Irish Farmers Association, when counting of votes began this morning; with first his preference votes appearing close to 50%.
Mr Healy, who promises more transparency and has pledged to rebuild trust within the IFA, is possibly observed by his electorate as offering a clear swing away from the current IFA establishment; himself having never served on the organisation’s national executive.
Mr Richard Kennedy, a dairy farmer from Clarina in north Co. Limerick and past Limerick County Chairman, was deemed elected as the new IFA Deputy President.
Mixed-enterprise farmer John Coughlan from Cork was elected Munster regional Chairperson (which includes Tipperary); while Mr Bert Stewart was returned (unopposed) as North Leinster-Ulster Regional Chairperson, as was indeed Mr James Murphy in South Leinster.
A reminder that, as and from April 1st, 2016, dog owners who have not already micro-chipped their dog and registered them on an authorised database, could face a hefty fine of up to €5,000.
There are currently four authorised databases available for registration purposes; Animark, Fido, Irish Coursing Club and the Irish Kennel Club. Each of these authorised databases can/will issue dog owners with a certificate ensuring registered details, relating to your dog, are correct and same will become necessary with regards to the transfer of all/any future dog ownerships.
Laws introduced last June 2015 saw the introduction of the micro-chipping of all puppies under the age of 12 weeks. From last September all pups being offered for sale are required to be identified by way of this micro-chipping process.
The next phase in this initiative now calls for every dog in Ireland to be micro-chipped, with the regulation being brought into force with effect from April 1st, 2016.
This current scheme is expected to bring a wide range of benefits to dog and their owners, through assisting in the speedy identification in the case of stray and stolen dogs, together with supporting overall animal welfare and protection.
Micro-chipping will also act as a deterrent for those who insist on abandoning their pets, while also assisting in the identification of marauding dogs that so often pose considerable financial hardships through attacks on farm livestock e.g. Lambs etc.
A reminder to all; this Sunday, between 1:00am and 2:00am, our clocks and watches will require to be skipped forward by one hour, thus depriving everyone of 60 minutes of precious shut-eye. Those with high tech gadgets e.g. Mobile Phones, Computers, Laptops etc. need not worry, as same time change will automatically occur without any required personal intervention on our part.
With 1916 on everyone’s lips this weekend, due to our celebrations commemorating the Irish Easter Rising, keep in mind that the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ was first introduced in that very same year. The first notion of attempting to not waste our daylight came about following a campaign which was begun in 1907, by the Edwardian British builder William Willett. It took until 1916 for those in authority to realise that this same time changing action would reduce considerable unnecessary energy consumption; while also saving countless lives, since fewer accidents occur in the mornings, when compared to our darker evenings.
So how did Thurles people and residents of our surrounding hinterland take to the first introduction of the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ in 1916? We find our answer recorded in the journal kept by Fr. Michael Maher C.C., Thurles, and then Secretary to the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. John Mary Harty.
May 21st 1916 “A new ordinance came into force in the middle of May; it was called the ‘Daylight Saving Act‘. It meant that all clocks were to be put forward an hour on the morning of Sunday the 21st May at two o’clock and they were to be left at that standard until the night of the 1st of October.
William Willett (1856 – 1915)
In former years, a Mr. [William] Willet of London frequently introduced a bill into the House of Commons to this effect, but it was always killed with ridicule. The poor man died a short time ago without having his hopes realised and now, when it was found that an immense saving would be effected through the curtailing of artificial light, and as economy was recommended in all possible directions, the bill was introduced again and became an act of parliament without laughter or opposition.
We did not put on the Cathedral clock [Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles] until after the devotions on Sunday night, because we did not know on the previous Sunday whether the act would apply to Ireland, and so we could not forewarn the people about the change in the hours of the services. The people in the towns fell in with the change without demur and everything went on just as before. We altered nothing except the hands of the clock. Some of the country people kept to the old time except on Sunday, when they had to go to Mass an hour earlier.
It did not suit the country parts as much as the towns, because the morning is not a good time for saving hay or carrying on harvesting operations, the evening is much better, so if the men stopped work at six o’clock by the new time they would leave off when the hay or corn was in the best condition to be put together or cut down. On dairy farms too, the milkers who had to rise at 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock by the old time, would have to part with their beds at an unearthly hour by the new reckoning.
In towns on the other hand it suited admirably because it gave a long bright evening to the populace after shops were closed and work abandoned. It made no difference to the clergy except that the 12:00 o’clock Mass in towns was much more convenient according to the new regulations.”
Independent TD Deputy Michael Lowry has described the decision by the present Government not to proceed with a ‘statutory single waterways authority’ as simply disastrous. The government has instead set up a ‘co-ordination group’ to implement flood management infrastructure.
Deputy Lowry stated: “The setting up of a ‘co-ordination group’ instead of a ‘statutory single waterways authority’ is a formula for future confusion with regards to actual day-to-day management of Ireland’s rivers and waterways. For whatever reason best known to this Government, they appear to have panicked under the pressure of recent criticisms regarding their slow response to the unanticipated flooding crisis. In making this decision to set up a ‘co-ordination group’ they have guaranteed that any disagreements between state agencies and other bodies into the future, will only lead to long delays in almost all attempted implementation of future flood prevention measures.”
Lowry welcomed the decision to include aid under the Fodder Replacement Scheme together with Humanitarian Aid and Hardship Recognition assistance.
Lowry stated; “It is now essential that all fodder damaged through flooding be urgently replaced and that the Hardship Recognition Scheme should take into account not just the damage caused to farm buildings but also deflated farm income suffered in association”.
Deputy Lowry acknowledged the magnificent and professional work undertaken by community services, general staff and management at Tipperary County Council.
“I have now contacted Tipperary County Council in relation to recent flooding and the general repairs and works urgently required in mending drains, ditches and culverts as well as roads and bridges across Tipperary. I have insisted that I be kept fully informed of any reports or proposed future works that are to be carried out on all roads, which I have examined and listed. Requests have been forwarded on to the necessary personnel with the instruction that issues be investigated on behalf of residents. It is now essential that Tipperary Co. Council seek funding from Government for all necessary emergency repairs”, concluded TD Lowry.
According to figures from the Health & Safety Authority (HSA), overall 55 people died in Irish work-related incidents in 2015.
It is now official; Ireland’s most dangerous occupation is currently farming, however nationally in 2015, the number of farm related deaths fell by some 40%.
In total nationally, 18 people lost their lives through agriculture related accidents last year, with two such deaths accounted for sadly in Co. Tipperary. This same number compares nationally to 30 the number of farm related death recorded in 2014.
Co Cork recorded the highest number of work-related deaths in 2015, followed by Donegal with 6 and Galway with a total of 5 fatalities.
Recorded nationally as having died while working in the construction industry are 11 people, while 5 lost their lives while working in the fishing sector.
Occupational related deaths involving the use of vehicles were the main cause of fatal accidents and accounted for 21 deaths nationally recorded.