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IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe has welcomed today’s funding announcement by the Department of Agriculture for a number of agri-food tourism projects.

It follows IFA’s call for people holidaying at home this summer (while adhering to the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap) to consider a stay on one of the many farm guesthouses around the country.

Ireland’s tourism sector will begin to re-open next month and many people are beginning to consider staycations around the country.

Brian Rushe said, “Grants such as these contribute to the development of a vibrant agri-tourism sector. Rural Ireland has been hard hit as a result of Covid-19, so these monies are badly needed. I urge Minister Creed to ensure they are paid out without any delay.”

 

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe has urged people holidaying at home this summer (while adhering to the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap) to consider a stay on one of the many farm guesthouses around the country.

Ireland’s tourism sector will begin to re-open next month and many people are beginning to consider staycations around the country.

Brian Rushe said, “2020 is a year unlike any other. Many people, including farm families, have taken a huge economic hit as a result of Covid-19. I urge people who will be in a position to take a holiday during the summer to consider an agri-tourism break. This will provide much needed support to our hard-hit rural communities”.

“Many working farms also operate B&Bs and guesthouses. For people curious about farming, food production and agriculture, it’s a great way to experience how an Irish family farm operates first hand. The website https://www.agritours.ie/ specialises in these types of holidays, but people can also find farmhouses and farm B&Bs on all of the major booking websites.”

“Additionally, for IFA members planning a break we are partners with Original Irish Hotels, a group of small, family run, Irish-owned hotels. IFA members receive a 15% discount,” said the IFA Deputy President.

IFA has welcomed the decision by Environment Minister Richard Bruton T.D. to ring-fence funds to tackle increased illegal dumping during the current COVID-19 crisis.

However, the Association has called on the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities (WERLAs) to develop a results-based plan setting out clearly how this €1m will be spent, what prosecutions they expect to achieve, and how many additional fixed notice penalties they expect local authorities to issue.

Paul O’Brien, IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman said, “Funding to tackle the growing issue of dumping in the countryside is important. But farm families and rural communities are rightly asking, what’s this €1m being used for and how will it lead to catching the serial dumpers who are a blight on the countryside? It’s time Government got tough on these litter louts and asked hard questions of local authorities and the WERLAs who have enforcement and prosecution powers when it comes to tackling illegal dumping”.

IFA has restated its call, made in a submission to the Department of Environment earlier this year, for urgent action to tackle the issue of reckless littering in rural areas, by introducing the following five key actions:

Details of those who receive on-the spot fines on more than two occasions must be published on local authority websites.

  1. The regional waste enforcement authorities must ensure that all local authorities have a litter prevention plan in place, which is being implemented.
  2. All local authorities must publish a list of convicted serial dumpers and seek tougher sentences.
  3. All retailers, including on-line retailers who put waste packing on the market must be required to fund a recycling programme for the correct management of these materials.
  4. Current waste management laws must be changed to ensure that reckless dumpers are pursued by local authorities and enforcement agencies, not the farmers on whose land is dumped upon.

 

IFA National Hill Committee Chairman, Flor McCarthy has expressed serious concern about recreational users taking their dog onto hills.

“The problem is exacerbated due to the increase of recreational users as a result of COVID-19, as many other activities are closed off,” he said.

Flor McCarthy said that while it is encouraging that people are getting out on hills and taking exercise on the various dedicated trails, IFA is reminding hillwalkers that they must have respect for farmers property and abide by the Comhairle na Tuaithe countryside code.

“This stipulates that dogs cannot be taken onto trails whether they are on a lead or not. There is an added danger at the moment as the lambing season is in full swing.”

While most people observe the code there are some who blatantly disregard it. It has also come to IFA’s attention that dogs are wandering off Coillte and National Parks trails onto private land.

The IFA hill farming leader said that people are welcome to use the dedicated and agreed walks throughout the country as this time of national crisis, provided that they observe the rules with regard to the exclusion of dogs.

IFA National Hill Farming Chairman Flor McCarthy has criticised the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Culture Josepha Madigan for not allowing managed burning of gorse to take place in March.
“The Minister has failed to take account of how farmers manage their hill land responsibly and where land is burned, it is done in a managed way.
Issues such as recent wildfires can be avoided if the window for burning included the month of March, which was enacted into law through the passing of the Heritage Bill last year.”
The weather conditions for burning are not the same throughout the country and putting a blanket ban to burning in March this year is a retrograde step.
It indicates a lack of understanding of the practical issues farmers face in managing their hill farms.


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