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In response to today’s figures from the Gardai, IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy said the reduction in household burglaries is welcome, but the figures confirm there is still a problem.

“We acknowledge that the Gardai have stepped up their efforts in targeting gangs operating in rural areas by increasing the number of patrols and checkpoints,” he said.

Richard Kennedy said it’s good to see the downward trend, but he was concerned that some household burglaries go unreported. “I would encourage people to report crimes to help Gardai in their efforts,” he said.

Richard Kennedy said there have been incidents of cross-border crime in recent months. IFA and the UFU have called for the establishment of a dedicated Rural Crime Task Force, specifically focused on border counties.

Their call follows an increase in the incidents of cattle theft in the area, which have had a devastating effect on the local communities.

“A more streamlined crime reporting system, immediate sharing of intelligence, and information exchange would increase the level of visibility and awareness, particularly where crime has been reported in border areas.”

UFU President Ivor Ferguson said, “Over the last year, several serious incidents have occurred on farms in the region. The culprits are moving with ease and without fear of detection on both sides of the border, while farmers and rural dwellers live in real fear for their safety, which is compounded by geographic and service isolation. Theft of valuables from rural homes and of livestock and machinery from farms is also a major concern”.

IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said lamb factories need to stop cutting prices and undermining the lamb market. He said the price cuts of the last two weeks were robbing sheep farmers of any chance of an income from early lamb.

“The price cutting tactic of the factories is completely undermining the market and destroying sheep farmers’ incomes. We need price stability at this critical time,” he said.

Sean Dennehy said spring lambs are making €6.10 to €6.30/kg and hoggets are making from €5.00/kg to €5.30/kg for larger suitable lots.

The IFA sheep Chairman advised flock owners to draft and select stock on a weekly basis at this time of year. He said, “With the good spring, lambs are finishing well and it is essential farmers don’t allow lambs into overweight condition. This is only giving factories free lamb and makes no sense.”

Sean Dennehy said the price cuts on spring lamb and hoggets at the factories have been excessive this year.

“This time last year spring lambs and hoggets’ were making €1.00/kg more, which is equivalent to €20 to €23 per head, or all of the profit from a sheep enterprise,” he concluded.



Following the decision by the Department of Agriculture to conduct an early review of the terms of the nitrates derogations IFA is holding five regional farmer meetings.

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IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed the intervention by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan in the escalating fertiliser debacle that has seen the recent imposition of temporary anti-dumping duties on certain non-EU UAN fertiliser imports by DG Trade.

Mr Healy said, “Commissioner Hogan’s request of Competition Commissioner Vestager to take swift action to ensure the proper functioning of the EU’s internal fertiliser market, in light of questionable business practices with respect to competition rules, represents a key turning point in this case”.

“Commissioner Hogan’s assessment of the malfunctioning of the EU’s fertiliser market mirrors many of the conclusions raised in the IFA commissioned study into the sector, carried out by the Washington based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Indeed, he rightly points to the need for price transparency and the operation of fair pricing mechanisms to create a properly functioning market.”

“The IFPRI report, published in 2016, found that EU farmers are paying among the highest prices in the world for mineral fertilisers. Anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs imposed by the EU Commission on certain non-EU fertiliser imports were costing farmers €1 billion per annum. It established that the increased concentration of EU industry since 1994 enabled fertiliser producers to significantly increase profit margins. Indeed, DG Trade, in its recent interim expiry review of ammonium nitrate anti-dumping duties concurred with the IFPRI findings regarding increased concentration of the industry.”

“More alarmingly the IFPRI report identified that EU fertiliser prices not in line with the predicted model outcome. It stated that “Based on the observed data, prices in Western European countries actually increased by 123%, while prices in Brazil decreased by 65% . . . . .  further suggests that additional factors, such as price fixing and cartels, might be operating in highly concentrated markets such as Western Europe”.

“In light of these findings it is all the more worrying that DG Trade saw fit to extend temporary anti-dumping (AD) duties recently to certain UAN fertiliser imports. This is despite the fact that IFA, COPA and other EU farming groups highlighted that the additional duties will cost farmers an estimated €2.7bn over the term, thus disproportionately affecting farm incomes which are already at an all-time low across many sectors.”

Mr Healy said, “Commissioners Malmström and Vestager must pay heed to Hogan’s request as it is in the Union’s interest to ensure that we maintain the competitiveness of the EU’s farming sector and support family


IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has described the Dáil’s declaration of a climate emergency in Ireland as “a wake-up call following a decade of climate inaction by successive Governments.”

Thomas Cooney said, “The first national climate road map out to 2030 was published in 2009[1]. The key actions that would deliver the greatest climate impact were known, but not acted upon adequately. Farm scale and community based renewable supports were not put in place, to support the displacement of fossil fuels. Adequate supports for retro-fitting homes and buildings with appropriate insulation and lighting were not introduced and the development of forestry on unenclosed lands was hindered. Instead we have lost decade to acrimony and finger wagging including trying to make farmers the fall guys for decades of climate inaction in this country. Amid all the noise in the climate debate, it has become lost that the key culprit of emissions spiralling out of control in Ireland is transport not farming and food production.

This climate emergency declaration must  focus on action.

Farming is one of the few sectors with a plan. Teagasc’s climate roadmap is an important scientific pathway to assist the agri-food sectors low carbon transition. This scientific plan is far better than the unrealistic proposals put forward by the Citizens’ Assembly or threats to the national herd.”

IFA again calls on Government to use this climate emergency declaration to co-ordinate relevant state agencies and Government Departments to maximise the delivery of improvements to farm level efficiencies; a reduction in fossil fuel use; and the development of on-farm renewables, as set out in Teagasc’s climate roadmap

Farmers are engaged in positive climate actions. Over 212,000 carbon assessments have been completed, as part of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme. Over 40% of farmers participate in the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme. Over 10,000km of biodiversity and climate positive hedgerows have been planted. Over 1,000 farmers interact in the voluntary Smart Farming programme. Farming needs to get the carbon and biodiversity savings recognised from these actions.

The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous productive sector and a key driver of economic activity in every parish in Ireland. To secure a just and sustainable climate transition, future climate measures must lead to improved farm level profitability,” he concluded.

[1] Sustainable Energy Ireland (2009) Ireland’s Low-Carbon Opportunity. An analysis of the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

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