Last week, the Government, through the climate action bill published legally binding carbon reduction targets. Every person in the country will be touched by this and action was required for our children and our children’s children.
Agriculture, however, will bear a serious brunt of the changes needed to achieve the targets outlined. This too will have an impact on our children and their children.
Those who may have been thinking of moving back to work on their family farm may have to curtail those ambitions. It is difficult to be overly positive about Our Rural Future, the Government’s rural development policy which was launched this week, as it will run in tandem (2021-25) with the first of the two carbon budgets for this decade.
There are 152 recommendations in the new rural plan, 14 of which are specific to agriculture. The first is to “develop and implement a new Agri-Food Strategy to 2030, building on the success of previous targets”.
The core objectives of the plan are positive
Considering that the success of previous strategies was due to agricultural growth – a policy which now appears to be in contravention of the climate action bill – one wonders how much of the rural plan can be achieved. The core objectives of the plan are positive. COVID-19 has shown that working outside of traditional office settings is possible and the plan seeks to build on that. Farmers must not be cast aside in this though.
Planning permission has been on many farmers’ minds in recent weeks, particularly those in the Glanbia catchment. It is also the focus of this week’s cover story with the Ó Beaglaoich brothers. The brothers believe that difficulties with attaining planning permission to build homes is a serious issue for youth in the Gaeltacht areas.
To see life breathed into the boarded-up half-finished Celtic crash developments or abandoned rural homes would be a win for this plan
In the new rural plan, there are aspirations for housing development to be “a mix of new housing developments and by utilising existing buildings”. To see life breathed into the boarded-up half-finished Celtic crash developments or abandoned rural homes would be a win for this plan.
We do like a bit of nostalgia in Irish Country Living and Pat McCarrick’s Endearing Engines series has provides that in recent weeks. This week, it is the school bus. Three – if not four – generations of rural families will have memories of this being the route to school.
Have you ever tried to cycle a bike with a bag on your back and a PIANO ACCORDION on your carrier?
All of us Cahill girls went to school to the Sisters of (no) Mercy on the bus. In primary school, we cycled a mile down the road and walked up to “the pump” bus stop. I played the accordion in school – the piano accordion. Have you ever tried to cycle a bike with a bag on your back and a PIANO ACCORDION on your carrier? “No?” Well, there is a reason for that – it’s impossible. Over the years, various neighbours threw me and the accordion into the back of the car. Our old postman Murt, God rest him, was always a welcome sight and I would sit up on top of the postbags in the back of his van. That’s rural Ireland for you.
There was a hierarchy on the bus and those memories were not so positive for some, I would say. Thirteen-year-old Kate Rice, gives us a taste of that in her entry for our short story competition Officer Chick. This is the last week of our children’s activities. We will continue to post your pictures and our prize winners will be announced in the coming weeks. I wish all our readers a happy Easter.