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IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally is asking everybody to be vigilant over the Bank Holiday weekend after a Condition Red – High Fire Risk has issued.

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IFA National Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has said that over 200 farmers in 70 townlands will qualify fully for the 2020 ANC scheme following the results of the appeal of the ANC review which took place two years ago. Farmers are being informed this week on the outcome of their appeals.

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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 said the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Culture Josepha Madigan has to allow the managed burning of gorse in March.

“The Minister has to take account of how farmers manage their hill land responsibly and where land is burned, it is done in a managed way,” he said.

While the focus has been on farmland that has been flooded, there is another consequence of the heavy rainfall in the last month. Hill farmers who had planned to manage their holdings have not been able to do so.

The weather conditions for burning are not the same throughout the country and putting a blanket ban to burning in March would be a retrograde step.

Allowing it to go ahead would demonstrate an understanding of the practical issues farmers face in managing their hill farms.

IFA National Hill Farming Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the announcement today by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring of 10 new walkways involving 238 farmers.

He said the addition of the routes in the National Walks Scheme will increase recreational tourism in peripheral areas.

“We want to see local development companies came forward with a further 30 walkways, to ensure that the extra €2m provided is fully utilised.”

IFA has consistently pointed out the value of this scheme, not just for farmers, but also to the wider rural community and economy.

He concluded by saying that some of the lands included would be considered marginal land and any opportunity to boost farm incomes is welcome.

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