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IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Thomas Cooney has described proposals to increase Garda numbers and expenditure on rural broadband, and the extension of the home renovation incentive, start your own business relief and capital allowances for energy efficient equipment to sole traders including farmers, as “important measures for rural Ireland which must be supported by real action on the ground.”

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On Monday the 4th of July; IFA Countryside Chairman, Richard Kennedy, along with Director of Organisation James Kelly, IFA Development Officer William Shortall and IFA Countryside Development Officer Marcus O’Halloran visited the Kildanogue Duck ponds in Goatenbridge Tipperary, which is home to the ABGN Game and Conservation Club.

Kildanogue Duck Ponds were opened to the public following the upgraded development of the ponds in 2012. The ponds were originally developed in 1969 by the club founders as a wildlife sanctuary, defining the progressive thinking of the club at that time.

Following Chairman Richard Kennedy’s recent election, he was keen to get out and meet with Countryside’s valued members and see the conservation work they are carrying out in in their localities for local communities.

During the visit, ABGN Club Chairman, Seamus Butler told of how the ponds have greatly enhanced the local community from a spiritual and recreational point of view. He said, “This has become somewhat of a showpiece for the ABGN Game and Conservation Club; on a weekly basis we have fitness enthusiasts, school tours, nature walks and visits from local respite centres to our ponds, it has given the locality a gateway to nature while providing sanctuary for all who dwell and visit here”.

The Kildanogue Duck Ponds give the local community a sense of the good work which the ABGN G&C Club carry out each year. The community spirit and collectiveness to ensuring the ponds remain a peaceful, and recreational habitat for all is overwhelmingly visible. This is one of three projects that the ABGN G&C club have ongoing and plans for further development are in the pipeline.

After the visit to the duck ponds, a meeting took place in Cahir House Hotel where members of the South Tipperary Regional Game Council met with IFA and FBD representatives Stewart Gavin, Underwriting Manager and Willie Phelan, local FBD Branch Manager. The meeting was to hear the views of IFA Countryside members.

IFA Countryside Chairman, Richard Kennedy gave an overview of IFA policy to members and Stewart Gavin from FBD gave an overview of their Insurance package, followed by questions from the floor.

This was a great opportunity for members of South Tipperary Regional Game Council and members of FBD & IFA Countryside to come together to discuss partnerships and hear the views of local Game & Conservation enthusiasts.

Pictured above: IFA Countryside meets ABGN Game and Conservation Club (l-r): Marcus O’Halloran, IFA Countryside Development Officer; John Lambert, ABGN; Pat O’Sullivan, ABGN; Robert Phelan, ABGN; Seamus Butler, ABGN; and, William Shortall, IFA Countryside

IFA Deputy President, Tim O’Leary, has confirmed that the Association is to work towards the establishment of a new community renewable energy business, aimed at providing rural communities with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from future renewable projects.

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