Farmers, be careful who you get into bed with!

February 19th, 2024 8:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

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EDITOR – Last week’s Star featured a front page headline about the politics of the Farm Alliance party and inside yet more ‘angry farmer’ demonstrations across West Cork.

I think many non-farmers are sympathetic to farmer struggles but there’s an almighty fog of issues being raised from the climate action ‘asks’ of them, to the rules and regulations of the €10bn subsidy from the Irish taxpayer via the Cap scheme.

The big question I suggest all non-farmers should ask is: ‘What would I be happy to join the farmer protests on?’

Here are my thoughts: Trade deals – nothing should come into this country that is produced beneath our production/welfare/ eco standards. Equally, Irish farm exports mustn’t undermine climate and other environmental action elsewhere; Taxpayer support via the Cap should provide a genuine and fair green transition package for farmers, so that they can restore biodiversity, help towards a safer climate and make a decent living. It should be illegal to sell farm products beneath their costs of production. Supermarkets and processors hold far too much market power. Consumers need to know their purchases are supporting climate and nature friendly farming.

There are many good reasons to support our farmers, but there also many reasons why I wouldn’t be having any part of such too – climate change denial, alliance with far-right parties and their anti-immigration, racism and net-zero conspiracy theories. Surely there’s a bright future for farming in West Cork, but farmers really need to be careful who they get into bed with.

Farmers – choose the right partners and very many across the public will support you. Choose the wrong ones and lose support massively.

Mark Robins,

Archaic milk collection system needs changing

EDITOR – Climate change and emissions of greenhouse gases are very much in the news. With those needs I wish to highlight the urgent need for the rationalisation of the milk supply and collection system in Ireland. Carbery milk processing plant is in Ballineen. Just a few miles away from it, milk is being collected and delivered to Mallow.

There is an archaic rule system that producers cannot change co-ops. The ‘gentleman’s agreement’ results in milk being drawn miles and miles. It is costing the co-ops millions of euro and ultimately it is the ordinary farmer who is paying for it. Surely a mechanism can be devised so that suppliers can switch to nearby processing plants.

Michael Hallissey,

We should embarrass US president on Paddy's Day

EDITOR – Every year on St Patrick’s Day the Taoiseach delivers a bowl of shamrock to the White House. However, this year, instead of cosying up to Joe Biden, our government can show him up for backing Netanyahu’s horrific war on the people of Gaza. Since October, we’ve watched in horror as the Israeli government has unleashed hell on the Palestinian people.

They’ve killed more than 27,000 people, and thousands more have been left with life-altering injuries. President Biden has sent warplanes, warships and billions of dollars in military aid to Israel which are used in this ongoing genocide of defenceless Palestinians. With elections on both sides of the Atlantic, both Leo Varadkar and Joe Biden would be hoping to get lots of media hits from the visit to the White House — while brushing under the carpet the horrific death and destruction happening in Palestine.

Joe Biden loves to play the Irish card with American voters and he would be embarrassed if Leo Varadkar didn’t show up to the White House on St Patrick’s Day with the annual bowl of shamrock. This year it would take on a greater significance with our elected leader appearing to condone the genocide in going to the White House.

Daniel Teegan,
Union Hall.

We need blackspot signs on those dangerous N71 bends

EDITOR – There has been yet another road traffic accident on the New Court N71 Schull Road. This is a blackspot where many cars have already been written off and something needs to be done about it before a major fatality occurs. There is a need to erect more warning signs at either side of these dangerous bends at New Court, just outside Skibbereen. I observed a black car (D registration) immersed in the dyke on Thursday January 25th.

This road is the main N71 between Skibbereen and Ballydehob. I informed the gardaí in Skibbereen and the following day I witnessed the car being removed and a garda car was present, stopping the traffic. Please, please can Cork County Council to put more warning signs like the old ‘Blackspot’ or chevron signs at this location before it’s too late?

Brigid O’Brien,
Church Cross,

Vat rate increase is killing our pub-grub business

EDITOR – The Licensed Vintners Association says the vat rate it has forced businesses to raise menu prices. The previous 9% was in place for over 10 years and now it has taken a hike to 13.5% from last year. There should be a motion in the Dáil on all of this as a matter of urgency.

With the tourist season on the way this will have a huge impact and it immediately pushed the level of taxation up to 50% in pubs around the country and pubs are closing their doors permanently because they cannot make a living at this rate of taxation and loss of jobs. With a general election this year, Sinn Féin say they will reduce the tax rate when they take power.

Noel Harrington,

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