Ireland has committed to producing at least 16% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and the next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is said to be fully aligned with the need to prioritise climate action. Farmers looking to benefit from green initiatives are being urged to attend Energy and Rural Business Show, taking place at Hub at Cillin Hill, Kilkenny on 23 and 24 October 2019.


This year the show is boosting its offering by including both Energy Now Expo and Rural Business Expo, so farmers can hear from experts on diversification and the growing opportunities and grants available for on-farm renewables.


Representing the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) at Energy and Rural and Business Show Ireland is Michael O’Donoghue, who will deliver a talk on the solar PV grants available under the TAMS on-farm investment scheme and energy efficiency.


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D. stated that “energy efficiency and deployment of renewable technologies at farm level are important steps that farmers can make as a positive contribution to decarbonising our economy and society. And at the same time can save money while meeting their own and local energy needs. My Department is supporting this through grant aid for efficient technologies such as air source heat pumps and solar PV.”


Headline speakers and topics at the show include:


  • Ray Langton, programme manager, Renewable Heat Scheme, SEAI
    • The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)
  • Barry Caslin, energy & rural development specialist, Teagasc
    • An overview of the renewable energy opportunities available to agriculture
  • Jason Hannon, renewable gas business development, Gas Network Ireland
    • A look at the future of the biomethane market
  • Marie Donnelly, chair, Renewable Energy Ireland
    • The Climate Action Plan – how can these targets be achieved?
  • Declan Rice, CEO, Kilkenny Leader Partnership
    • How LEADER grant funding can help you develop your business
  • Keith Harlin, geothermal geologist, Geothermal Association of Ireland
    • Is ground source heating for you?
  • Alison Corbally, director of breeding and programmes, Horse Sport Ireland
    • How to breed performance horses
  • Pat McCormack, president, ICMSA
    • Carbon Tax – what you need to know
  • David Walsh-Kemmis, Ballykilcavan Brewing Company
    • How to create a commercial brewery
  • Joseph Spollen, biomass supply manager, Bord Na Mona
    • Supplying biomass fuel – the customer perspective


The Big Debate

For the first time, the show is launching ‘The Big Debate’ on the continued growth of the renewable energy and low carbon sectors in Ireland, which will see industry experts discuss key topics and questions submitted by farmers on the run up to the event. Agribusiness specialist from the Irish Farming Journal, Lorcan Allen, will moderate the debate, and confirmed speakers on the panel include Cllr Malcolm Noonan, spokesperson for Regional Development & Rural Affairs from the Green Party, Tom Short, renewables project team chairman, IFA, Paddy Phelan, 3CEA manager, and PJ McCarthy, RGFI chairman.


To submit your burning question for The Big Debate, visit:


Energy Now Expo

If you’re looking to find out more about the opportunities available to farmers in renewable energy, Energy Now Expo showcases the latest technologies and services from expert speakers and exhibitors from across the renewables sector, including AD and biogas, biomass, energy crops, energy management, heat pumps, hydro, solar and energy storage.


Rural Business Expo

Farmers and landowners looking to future proof their businesses through diversification, whether it be making better use of current assets or launching a completely new business venture, Rural Business Expo features ‘How-To Workshops’ from speakers who have diversified their businesses and can offer guidance, as well as exhibitors with refreshingly practical and robust diversification propositions.

The event is run in association with the Irish Farming Association (IFA) and Teagasc and is supported by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), The Alpaca Association of Ireland, Macra Na Feirme, the Renewable Gas Forum of Ireland (RGFI), the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Three Counties Energy Agency (3CEA), The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) and The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA).

Energy and Rural Business Show is free to attend, and places can be booked today:



Department faces wave of appeals over ‘flawed’ reports EU payments ruling will have ‘serious consequences’ says Junior Minister


Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources: Sean Kyne Photo: Tom Burke1

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources: Sean Kyne Photo: Tom Burke

The Department of Agriculture is facing the first wave of potentially thousands of appeals against inspection decisions and penalties relating to EU farm payment entitlements.

The appeals follow a recent High Court decision which ruled the Department’s inspection procedures were “flawed”.

Galway solicitor John Cuddy confirmed he had received several inquiries from farmers after the findings of the recent High Court case were revealed in the Farming Independent.

“Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done and this case highlights the fact that the decision making body and the appeals process had little or no regard to a farmer’s constitutional rights,” said Mr Cuddy.

The precedent-setting case saw a Co Tipperary farmer take a High Court challenge against the decision of the appeals officer after his 2010 single farm payment application was rejected.

The judge ruled the Department of Agriculture’s inspection was “procedurally flawed” and a “control report” should have been provided so the farmer could review the details of the checks carried out.

It found there was “very little regard for fair procedures” and he should be entitled to the payment of the subsidy on the lands that qualified.

Mr Cuddy is advising farmers to seek a review of any Appeals Office decision by the Director of the Appeals Office.

Former agri advisor and Minister of State at the Gaeltacht Department Sean Kyne said the decision had “serious consequences” for the Agriculture Department and for farmers hit with penalties under EU schemes.

“Land eligibility concerns have been flagged with the Department for years and clearly farmers’ concerns have been upheld in the recent court judgement,” he said.

Both Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and the hill farmers’ group INHFA have called for an independent review of all decisions potentially impacted by this case.

Mr Fitzmaurice said the case confirmed that farmers rights were being breached.

“I am calling for an independent committee to be set up to deal with all historical penalties, particularly as the rules around eligibility have been reinterpreted again this year,” he said.

Vincent Roddy of the INHFA hill farmers group called for an independent review of the appeals office and all decisions that could “potentially affected by this decision”.

He said farmers “should not be the ones picking up the tab for any more appeals as they try to enforce this decision”.

The ICSA’s Eddie Punch said the case “undoubtedly has implications for other farmers who feel they have got a raw deal on land eligibility penalties”. He pointed out there were many land eligibility penalties imposed under the LPIS review.

The IFA have called for a review of all Department penalty files following the decision.

The Independent Appeals Board received 610 appeals in 2014, 886 in 2013, while over 1,000 were received in 2012.

IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy said proper procedures must be followed in inspections and it was “worrying” the farmer had to go to court to get his rights upheld. He called for the Charter of Farmers’ rights to be sent to all farmers as promised.

Another Tipperary farmer who had a 100pc penalty reduced to 5pc found despite his success in the appeal he was unable to recover any of the legal costs from the Department or Appeals Office. He was left with bills of around €6,000.

The Department of Agriculture has refused to comment stating the case was ongoing.

Indo Farming

ICSA to protest today against Mercosur and TTIP trade deals

AGRILAND – 3 May 2016

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is to protest today, Wednesday May 4, in Dublin against the proposed Mercosur and TTIP trade deals.

The protest will take place outside the offices of the European Commission on Lower Mount St at 11.30am.

ICSA is focusing on the EU Commission in response to what it says is the excessively weak negotiating position taken by the Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström without any democratic mandate.

ICSA strenuously opposes any trade deal which would threaten the future of the Irish beef Industry.

EU trade deals such Mercosur with South America and TTIP with North America could result in thousands of tonnes of tariff free beef flooding the EU market which would be devastating for Irish beef exports, it says.

The protest will involve ICSA national representatives from all over Ireland and several hundred are expected to attend.

ICSA is urging all farmers to come out to fight for fair play with ICSA and the association says that all politicians are invited to meet the protesters.

Earlier this year, ICSA President Patrick Kent said the ICSA’s worst fears were beginning to crystallise with the Mercosur proposal which he said would be utterly disastrous for the beef sector here.

“Irish beef cannot be expected to compete on European markets with South American beefwhich is produced to a very different standard, where environmental damage is ignored and where labour standards and pay conditions are totally different.

“Import tariffs provided some balance, so any proposal to undermine these will be disastrous and the impact on Irish exports would be serious.

“It’s not just Irish farmers who will be affected; it’s all EU beef farmers. What is the EU for, if it is not for supporting a viable agriculture sector in Europe?”


10th February, 2016

ICSA, with the generous support of Chanelle Veterinary, is hosting a Spring Sheep Seminar today, Wednesday February 10th 2016 in Mountbellew Agricultural College, Mountbellew, Co. Galway.

ICSA Sheep chairman John Brooks said “ICSA is very excited to be hosting this event at Mountbellew College. We’re expecting a big crowd and our advice is to get there early to avail of the spot prizes and giveaways on offer.”

Mr Brooks said: “The afternoon will begin with an outdoor session which will commence at 3.30pm. Staff from the college including John Kelly, Martina Donnelly and John Hurley will give a presentation on their methods for getting the best results from and the general management of the Mountbellew sheep flock and Limousin suckler herd.”

ICSA has assembled a top class line-up of guest speakers specialising in sheep to participate in the indoor session which begins at 6.00pm. Tim Keady, principal sheep research scientist with Teagasc will give a presentation on ‘Profitable Prime Lamb Production’. This will be followed by veterinary consultant John Gilmore who will discuss ‘parasite control, anthelmintic resistance in sheep and common ailments and diseases in sheep in order to provide optimum health in the ewe flock.’

Agricultural Consultant Eoghan Finneran will then discuss ‘increased production from using mixed species pasture and payments & schemes available to sheep farmers.’ ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks will also outline aspects of the association’s current sheep policies and listen to farmers views on an array of issues.

In conclusion Mr Brooks said “I would like to thank our main sponsor Chanelle Veterinary for their support as well as all the other sponsors who are taking a trade stand for the day.”