ICSA CALLS FOR EXTRA RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY POLICING INITIATIVES AT THE JOINT OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE & EQUALITY

17 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock had said “People in rural Ireland are living in fear and that it’s time to prioritise the fight against crime and time to deliver enough resources to the Gardai.” Mr Sherlock made his comments while addressing the issue of Community Policing & Rural Crime before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality this morning.

Continuing Mr Sherlock said, “There is no substitute for having Gardaí on the ground. We need local communities to be on first name terms with Gardaí. ICSA is concerned that restrictions on Garda overtime is impacting the ability to fight crime and to be on the case rapidly. We want to see a higher Garda presence in rural areas, and the ability to respond to calls for help as fast as possible.”

“The feeling among many is that it is better to call your neighbour than to call the Gardaí when you feel threatened.” He said many farmers are spending money trying to make their premises more secure but that these solutions are not cheap for individual farm families. Mr Sherlock added however that rural communities were more than willing to play their part in combating crime through community policing initiatives but that these initiatives were in need of more resources.

“ICSA is also concerned that criminals who continuously re-offend get treated too lightly by the criminal justice system.  All too often, we see crime committed by individuals who should be in jail. We want to see stiffer sentencing for repeat offenders. The purpose of the criminal justice system should also be about protecting innocent people in their homes.”

Mr Sherlock was also critical of the CCTV scheme introduced to assist communities with installing cameras locally as a crime deterrent. The initiative has proved overly cumbersome for communities to engage with, which has resulted in a low up-take. “An urgent review needs to be carried out at this stage to see how local communities can be further assisted with utilising the scheme. Of particular importance is clarification as to whether the Gardaí or local authorities are responsible managing the footage collected.”

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ICSA PROTEST BEEF PRICES AT DAWN MEATS BALLYHAUNIS

15 OCTOBER 2018

Frustrated farmers have protested outside Dawn Meats, Ballyhaunis this morning to reflect the anger at continuous cuts in beef price by meat factories.  The protest has been organised by ICSA – the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association who say that farmers in the beef sector have been crucified by beef price cuts in a year when farmers have substantial extra costs due to extreme weather.

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said farmers cannot continue to produce beef at current prices. “It is beyond belief that in a year like this, when farmers are on their knees with extra cost arising from a fodder crisis that the meat industry would seek to increase profits on the back of farmers.”

“There was an orchestrated effort to drive down beef price over several weeks. Since ICSA first  took action on October 5, the price cutting has stopped. But now we want to drive price back up and no farmer should dream of selling steers this week at less than €3.85. Current prices, however, are totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd.  Meanwhile, the suckler herd is not profitable unless price is closer to €5/kg.”

“It is time for farmers to fight back. We cannot go on working for nothing and risking substantial capital finishing cattle especially as we enter the expensive winter finishing period.”

ICSA president Patrick Kent said that ICSA was sending a very clear message to retailers that beef  farmers were being exploited.  “There will be no hiding place for retailers now who claim they are supporting farmers.   Retailers cannot boast about sustainable beef and then profiteer when farmers are not even getting the cost of production.”

“Retailers and processors need to wake up to the fact that there will be no sustainable beef if they continue to squeeze the primary producer. ICSA  is calling for a halt to the exploitation of family farms.”

The ICSA president also hit out at the failure of new international markets to deliver strong prices for farmers. “Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.”

“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated.  This is the second day of action and unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out.”

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ICSA DISAPPOINTED THAT DESIGNATED AREAS IGNORED IN BUDGET

11 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said he is very disappointed that the budget contained no recognition of the need for proper compensation for designated lands. “ICSA wants to see an NPWS scheme to compensate farmers for designation as the process completely undermines the ability of farmers to farm the land and in some cases completely devalues the land.

For too many years, farmers with designated lands have been left without adequate compensation. The GLAS scheme is only a small help. Many farmers who have designated land are not really compensated by GLAS because they would have been able to avail of GLAS anyway without the designation and all its negative impact.”

Mr Sherlock did however welcome the restoration of the full ANC funding to the pre-crash level. “It is long overdue. The ANC payment is real money for farmers without any of the complex red tape that is associated with a lot of rural development schemes.”

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ICSA BUDGET REACTION – PAYMENT FOR WEIGHING CALVES IS A GOOD MOVE

9 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed the €40 for weighing calves announced in today’s budget. “ICSA asked Minister Creed for this in 2016 as a means of making the BDGP more accurate and rewarding farmers for putting real information into the ICBF database. An accurate calf weight is a real measure of how a cow is performing because it captures genetic potential for growth as well as milk.”

Mr Kent also welcomed the full restoration of the ANC payment which was slashed during the downturn. “This has been a real loss of income to our most disadvantaged farmers and it is high time it was restored.”

He also welcomed the extension of stock reliefs for another three years and the three year extension of stamp duty exemption for young farmers.

However, Mr Kent was more critical of other taxation measures. “The minor level of improvement on earned income tax credits and on the Category A thresholds for Capital Acquisitions Tax represent at best a begrudging admission that they are worthwhile and at worst a rowing back of the ambition set out in previous budgets. The earned income tax credit was only increased by €200 to €1,350 as happened last year as well.

But the various reports on taxation have highlighted that there is a serious inequality with PAYE workers who qualify for a credit of €1,650. When Minister Noonan began the process of rectifying this blatant unfairness for self-employed workers it was indicated that it would be done over three budgets with an increase of €550 each time. We are now looking at this process being dragged out over seven years. There is no justification for this.

Similarly, the increase in the Group A threshold for CAT covering gifts and inheritances has to be seen in the context that the thresholds were cut severely in the past and that there is an acceptance that the current level exposes many people to heavy tax burdens on taking over the family business.”

Mr Kent said that many farmers would be amazed at the substantial increase in afforestation money compared to what is being directed at livestock farming. “There is a serious question over blanket sitka spruce plantations both in terms of climate change and impact on rural communities.”

However, Mr Kent welcomed no increase in carbon taxes on fuel which he said did nothing to change behaviour for rural motorists who no option except to use diesel for transport. “Diesel fuels the rural economy and there is no realistic alternative for agricultural machinery or for haulage of inputs and outputs in rural areas.”

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ICSA PROTEST BEEF PRICES AT ABP CLONES

5 OCTOBER 2018

Frustrated farmers have protested outside ABP this morning to reflect the anger at continuous cuts in beef price by meat factories.  The protest has been organised by ICSA – the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association who say that farmers in the beef sector have been crucified by beef price cuts in a year when farmers have substantial extra costs due to extreme weather.

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said farmers cannot continue to produce beef at current prices. “It is beyond belief that in a year like this, when farmers are on their knees with extra cost arising from a fodder crisis that the meat industry would seek to increase profits on the back of farmers.”

“There has been an orchestrated effort to drive down price at a rate of 5c/kg/week. The current price of €3.70/kg is totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd.  Meanwhile, the suckler herd is not profitable unless price is closer to €5/kg.”

“It is time for farmers to fight back. We cannot go on working for nothing and risking substantial capital finishing cattle especially as we enter the expensive winter finishing period.”

Mr Graham was also highly critical of the failure of new International markets to deliver strong prices for farmers. “Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.”

“Meat factories and retailers love to talk about sustainable systems of beef production. ICSA believes that unless cattle farmer incomes are economically sustainable, all the rest is just pie in the sky.”

“The meat industry cannot be allowed drive farmers out of business. ICSA believes it is an unacceptable element of the sector that meat factories are using their own feedlots to manipulate price. The price cutting is also a way of subduing store cattle price with a view to getting cheaper cattle for their own feedlots.”

“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated.  Further action cannot be ruled out.”

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ICSA TO STAGE PROTEST AT ABP CLONES AMID CRASHING BEEF PRICES

NEWS RELEASE / PHOTO OP

4 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA is to mount a protest at ABP Clones as processors continue to hammer beef farmers with price cuts. The protest will take place tomorrow (Friday 5 October) from 7am, ABP Clones, Co Monaghan.

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said, “ICSA did not attend the Beef Forum this week due to the lack of solidarity shown by processors to beef producers. Never has this lack of solidarity been more evident than in the last few weeks.”

“Farmers are on their knees, anger is mounting and factories have refused to engage with us in a meaningful way at the roundtable.”

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MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF FEEDING BEEF

4 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA will host an event focusing on Meeting the Challenges of Feeding Beef on Tuesday 9 October in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co Westmeath at 8pm.

 The evening will feature the following guest speakers and topics:

 General Secretary ICSA – Eddie Punch:

Market outlook in unsettled times.

Kepak Livestock Procurement Manager – Jonathan Forbes:

The outlook for beef in 2019, and required factory specifications.

 Thompsons’ Richard Moore:

Feeding for performance and recent Kepak/Thompsons trial work.

Lallemand – Bruno Martin:

Learn from your animals, beef feeding signals.

 The meeting will be chaired by Dr Alan Kelly lecturer in Beef Production and Nutrition at UCD

Refreshments will be served.

 This event is free and all farmers are invited to attend. For further information and tickets, please contact ICSA on 057 8662120.

In association with, THOMPSONS – FEEDING INNOVATION

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LITTLE PROSPECT THAT FARMERS WILL BENEFIT AS KUWAIT MARKET OPENS TO IRISH BEEF & SHEEPMEAT

4 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has welcomed the announcement by Minister Creed this morning that Kuwait has opened its market to imports of Irish beef and sheepmeat. However, Mr Graham said that farmers must see a resulting dividend for it to be judged a success.

Commenting Mr Graham said, “Farmers have become increasingly sceptical as to whether the opening of new markets has any real benefit for them whatsoever. In the past, such announcements have not been followed by any strengthening of beef prices.”

“Currently the price of beef is nowhere near what it needs to be. Processors have been imposing harsh price cuts for weeks now. The opportunity to export to Kuwait will no doubt be great news for them and for all others who make money off the backs of farmers. It is reprehensible that primary producers continually get forgotten with all the hype.”

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STATEMENT FROM ICSA ON BEEF FORUM

1 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA has decided not to attend the upcoming Beef Forum scheduled for Wednesday 3 October due to the lack of solidarity shown by meat processors in recent weeks.

Addressing the issue, ICSA president Patrick Kent said “Cutting prices week after week is shameful. It shows complete contempt for farmers and is particularly egregious when many are on their knees due to increased costs. There is no point in attending a roundtable discussion when factories are attending in bad faith.”

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ICSA CALLS FOR AN INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY POLICING AS CRIME RATE RISES

1 OCTOBER 2018

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said the rise in robberies in the latest CSO figures for recorded crime are cause for real concern. “These figures are alarming to say the least. Robbery implies the use of force and a 15% rise in these types of incidents will no doubt cause widespread fear in rural Ireland where people feel most vulnerable.”

The statistics released today also reveal an increase in the level of theft and related offences. “Again, those living in rural Ireland will feel most exposed. Incidents of theft have risen to 68,248 in number and we must remember that each of these crimes has an emotional as well a financial impact. The days of there being a Garda station in every village are long gone unfortunately, so the onus is very much on remaining vigilant in our own communities. Particularly now as the evenings draw shorter it is vitally important to look out for one another.”

“These efforts are of course supported by various community policing initiatives. However, something isn’t working and people are still living in fear. It is clear now that more resources will have to be allocated if there is to be any hope of a meaningful reduction in crime statistics.”

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