Ireland ranks second worst in latest climate action report
Ireland described as looking for loopholes in the terms and conditions of their climate change targets.

The Climate Action Network Europe has released a report ranking EU countries in terms of ambition and progress in the fight for climate change.

In the report - Off target: Ranking of EU countries’ ambition and progress in fighting climate change - Ireland ranks second from the bottom, above Poland, and has been described as looking for loopholes in the terms and conditions of their targets.

Ireland is set to miss its 2020 targets and is not on course for the 2030 Paris Agreement targets. Some €500m in compliance costs are charged to Ireland annually. The report recognised Ireland’s potential for renewable energy, which can be further developed. However, the report also recommends putting immediate measures in place for the transport and agriculture sectors.

Recommendations

The report stated Ireland needs to join the group of progressive EU member states calling for increased action on climate change, which it says we have failed to do in the past.

Increased ambition has been called for on Ireland’s behalf. Ireland only scored 21% of the possible points in the report. The Irish Government has been described as showing stiff opposition towards climate action nationally and within the EU. Within the details of the report, Ireland scored 0% in promoting more ambitious EU targets and strategies. All use of peat for electricity needs to end by 2019, while coal use needs to stop by 2025 in the recommendations put forward.

Sweden is leading the fight in climate change out of the 28 member states. It scored 77% of the possible points. Germany and the UK came in for criticism, as they are no longer leading the way in climate action despite their relative wealth.

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Cattle on the run lead to brawl between neighbours over fencing
A row over cattle fencing resulted in a man being convicted of assault and a second criticised for using inflammatory language in a case described by a judge as “a sorry mess between neighbours”.

Trevor Deane, aged 34, of Clounties, Dunmanway, Co Cork, denied two charges arising out of the incident on July 29, 2016, when it was claimed he assaulted a neighbour, Michael Casey, causing harm and also assaulted Mr Casey’s brother, Patrick.

Michael Casey, who runs a car valeting business, gave evidence that at noon on the day he saw five cattle belonging to Deane in his field. He said he failed to make contact with Deane by phone but got the cattle out. At 5pm, he saw between 10 and 12 cows back in his field. He tried to return them but gave up and rang Deane.

“I said put up your fence, I am fed up with this craic,” the witness told Clonakilty District Court.

Mr Casey said Deane arrived and then started calling out to him, saying “out in the road” and “are you a coward, or what?”

He claimed Mr Deane accused him of being “the cause of the trouble”.

“He started jumping around the road like Muhammad Ali,” Mr Casey said. “Next thing, he made a drive for me.

“He said ‘you’re a coward’. I said you are only looking for compensation off your neighbour.”

Mr Casey claimed Deane kicked him and then struck him “a belt of a fist”, knocking him on the ground. He said he managed to roll away, before his brother, Pat, who was also present, shouted at Deane to stop.

Michael Casey said Deane’s father, Reggie, was present and had accused Mr Casey of “blackguarding” his son.

“I said you had right to have drowned your young fella, we wouldn’t have these problems at all,” Mr Casey said, in the witness box. He said after that exchange “we got stuck into a row”.

Images of cuts and scrapes on Mr Casey, taken later that day by gardaí, were shown in court.

Mr Casey denied there had been issues between the two families for decades and said he could only count four years since 2002 when cattle had not strayed on to his property.

Patrick Casey said in evidence that Deane seemed “in a violent rage” and after a discussion about the fencing, Deane hit Michael Casey and then hit him in the ear. He said Mr Deane “sort of kicked the legs out from under [his brother]”, who landed in the dyke.

“I started roaring at him and said ‘stop, for God’s sake, you’ll kill him’.”

Deane’s solicitor Eamonn Fleming queried why Mr Casey’s initial statement to gardaí gave different estimates on how many cattle were in his field at both times that day while, in evidence, Trevor Deane claimed the Caseys had been abusive to him since he was a teenager and denied going to Mr Casey’s place at all that day.

He said he had been in Skibbereen Mart — producing a sales invoice to prove it — before returning home for his dinner and then going to an outside farm in Coppeen.

Deane’s partner Siobhán gave a similar timeline for the day and his father Reggie said, after returning from the mart, he had fallen asleep in front of the television.

Garda Kay Gaynor said she tried to discuss the incident with Trevor Deane but was unsuccessful and when she met Reggie Deane she said he became abusive.

Judge Mary Dorgan said “good fences make good neighbours”, adding: “Cows being cows, they break out.”

She said Mr Casey’s “drowning” comment was “a terribly inflammatory thing to say”.

“I am not impressed with the evidence I heard from either side,” she added.

Deane was convicted on both charges and was bound to the peace for 24 months and fined €350.

*This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.*

KT farm improvement deadline extended
The deadline for submission of data for farm improvement plans has been extended to facilitate weather conditions.

A two-week extension to the date for submission of farm improvement plans in the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Scheme has been granted. Farmers now have until 14 August to submit their plans. However, the 31 July deadline for holding meetings of KT groups remains in place.

Processing will begin on cases submitted by the original 31 July deadline in order to ensure that any impact on payment timelines is minimised, the Department has said.

“This extension has arisen on foot of concerns expressed in relation to the amount of resources currently being dedicated by advisory services to assisting farmers in dealing with the current weather conditions,” Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said.

Creed urged all participants in KT groups to submit their farm improvement plan data as soon as possible.

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