Minutes of Special Meeting of Sligo County Council held on 5th August 2009 at 11.00am in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo.
- Councillor Barrett,
- Councillor Barry,
- Councillor Clarke,
- Councillor Devins,
- Councillor Fleming,
- Councillor Gormley,
- Councillor Keaney,
- Councillor Lyons,
- Councillor MacManus,
- Councillor McGarry,
- Councillor McGrath,
- Councillor McLoughlin,
- Councillor Mullaney,
- Councillor Mulvey,
- Councillor Murray.
OFFICIALS IN ATTENDANCE:
- Ms R. McNulty, Deputy County Manager
- Mr K. Colreavy, Acting Meetings Administrator
- Ms M. McGovern, Clerical Officer
- Mr Billy Sommerville, Chairman of Sligo Branch of IFA
- Mr. Adrian Leddy, IFA Regional Organiser
- Representatives from Farming Community
The Cathaoirleach, Councillor G. Murray expressed apologies on behalf of Councillors T. Collery, J. Queenan and M. Baker who were unable to attend the meeting. He welcomed Mr. Sommerville, Mr.Leddy and representatives from the farming community and laid out the format for the meeting.
TO DISCUSS THE SEVERE DIFFICULTIES FACING THE FARMING COMMUNITY:
Mr. Sommerville gave a presentation outlining issues facing the farming community as a result of recent cuts to various agricultural schemes.
The Cathaoirleach invited questions and comments from Members.
Councillor Mullaney: Farmers are the backbone of rural communities and the backbone of these communities are being wiped out
Councillor MacManus: As the rest of the country is dependent on the work and expenditure of the agriculture community this is an issue for the whole community.
Councillor Fleming: Farming as a profession is being driven back to the 1940’s with the removal of REPS 4.
Councillor McLoughlin: There has been a serious erosion of farm incomes over the years. There have been major developments delivered by our farming community and this community has now been undermined
Councillor Keaney: The crisis facing the farming community cannot be over-stated as a Teagasc survey shows farming income fell 13.5% in 2008. These further cuts are attacking an already weakened sector.
Councillor Gormley: This is part of a campaign to destroy the West of Ireland, and there is a very bleak outlook for the farming community due to removal of REPS and the Young Farmers Installation schemes giving no incentive for a future in agriculture.
Councillor Clarke: There is a lack of fairness in these measures, and our farmers deserve the support of every other sector of the community.
Councillor McGrath: Farmers are being singled out for cut-back after cut-back, and there are serious knock-on effects for the whole community. We should focus on protecting the farmers and protecting sustainable jobs.
Councillor Barrett: Our most efficient farmers are being forced out of business, and loss of REPS is a devastating blow to the West of Ireland. It is nothing short of an assault on rural Ireland.
Councillor Lyons: These cut-backs arise from ten years of recklessness and mismanagement of the economy which has left our farmers in dire straits. It is now almost impossible for people to earn a living on a small farm.
Councillor Lundy: There are many challenges facing the farming community, but 62,000 farmers have benefited from the REPS scheme. We now have to work with farmers to help them diversify into areas such as agri-tourism and rural tourism.
Councillor McGarry: There has been an erosion of supports from central Government to our country’s farmers and we have a duty as public representatives to speak out against these cuts.
Councillor Mulvey: This sector needs young, trained farmers to take over the family farm. Farmers are in disarray and as there are no part time jobs available they are facing the prospect of emigration.
Councillor Devins: This Council enjoys an excellent relationship with the IFA Executive, and we should concentrate our energies where we can make a real difference, such as delivering a reduction in the water charges.
Mr. Leddy outlined further effects of cuts to the farming community and thanked the council for the opportunity to debate this issue.
Following further discussions the following were:
Proposed by Councillor G. Mullaney
Seconded by Councillor H. Keaney
“That this council calls on the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Brendan Smith to immediately restore REPS 4 and rescind cuts in the Disadvantage Agricultural Scheme.”
Proposed by Councillor M. Gormley
Seconded by Councillor S. MacManus
“That this council requests the Minister for Agriculture to meet a deputation from this council to discuss the farming crisis.”
Proposed by Councillor J. Devins
Seconded by Councillor G. Murray
“That the Chairperson and members of Sligo County Council meet the County Manager to look at revising the water charges downwards for the coming year and that all savings accrued from the reduction in wastage be passed directly to the water consumer.”
The Cathaoirleach thanked Mr Sommerville and Mr Leddy for their attendance, and thanked Members for their contribution to the debate.
The following emergency motion was submitted by Councillor M. Clarke:
Proposed by Councillor M. Clarke
Seconded by Councillor D. Mulvey
“That this council call on Minister Sean Haughey, Minister for Life Time Learning and his steering committee, review of catchment boundaries, that they would modify the common boundary to be the Main Street, Coolaney, Co. Sligo, between the following schools – St. Attracta’s College, Tubbercurry, St. Mary’s College, Ballisodare and Colaiste Mhuire, Ballymote.”
The above motion was noted by the Cathaoirleach.
VOTES OF SYMPATHY:
Proposed by Councillor M. Fleming
Seconded by Councillor D. Mulvey
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mrs. Marie Ryan on the death of her nephew, David Carey.”
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mr. John Cunnie on the death of his brother, Tom Cunnie.”
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mr. Robert Walker on the death of his brother-in-law, William R. Cox.”
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mrs. Edie Grier on the death of her husband, James Grier.”
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mrs. Mary McCarrick on the death of her husband, Patrick McCarrick.”
The meeting ended at 12.45pm.
Meeting Date 05/08/2009