Over 50 candidates declare for European elections
There are a number of farmers and candidates connected to agriculture among the 59 names that will contest the next European elections.

A total of 59 candidates have declared to contest the European Parliament election across the three Irish constituencies.

There are a number of farmers on the ballot papers. Current Minister of State for Agriculture and Wicklow suckler farmer Andrew Doyle will be running in the Ireland South constituency.

He will be joined by a farmer from Co Tipperary, Liam Minehan, and a retired farmer, Paddy FitzGerald. Both are running as independents.

The North-West constituency will see the three Irish MEPs currently sitting on the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, Mairead McGuinness, Matt Carthy and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, stand for election again.

They will be joined by Saoirse McHugh from Achill Island in Co Mayo. She will be running for the Green Party and describes herself as a “sustainable farming advocate”.

Serving Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and former Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith will also be contesting the European elections in the Midlands North-West constituency.

Midlands North-West

In the Midlands North-West constituency, comprising counties Leitrim, Monaghan, Donegal, Cavan, Louth, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Kildare, Meath, Longford and Westmeath, 14 candidates have declared.

  • Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People before Profit).
  • Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin).
  • Peter Casey (Independent).
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Independent).
  • Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland).
  • Dominic Hannigan (Labour).
  • Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent).
  • Dilip Mahapatra (Independent).
  • Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael).
  • Saoirse McHugh (Green Party).
  • James Miller (Independent).
  • Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent).
  • Olive O'Connor (Independent).
  • Michael O’Dowd (Renua).
  • Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil).
  • Brendan Smith (Fianna Fáil).
  • Maria Walsh (Fine Gael).
  • Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, Independents Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Marian Harkin and Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness are the outgoing MEPs. Marian Harkin has chosen not to stand again.

    Ireland South

    In the Ireland South constituency, comprising counties Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Wexford, Wicklow, Limerick and Waterford, 23 candidates have declared.

  • Allan Brennan (Independent).
  • Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil).
  • Dolores Cahill (Independent).
  • Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael).
  • Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael).
  • Paddy Fitzgerald (Independent).
  • Breda Patricia Gardner (Independent).
  • Theresa Heaney (Independent).
  • Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil).
  • Sean Kelly (Fine Gael).
  • Peter Madden (Independent).
  • Liam Minehan (Independent).
  • Liadh ni Ríada (Sinn Féin).
  • Sheila Nunan (Labour).
  • Diarmuid O’Flynn (Independent).
  • Peter O’Loughlin (Identity Ireland).
  • Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party).
  • Walter Ryan-Purcell (Independent).
  • Joseph Sexton (Independent).
  • Jan Van De Ven (Direct Democracy Ireland).
  • Adrienne Wallace (Solidarity-People before Profit).
  • Mick Wallace (Independents for Change).
  • Colleen Worthington (Independent).
  • Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly, Liada Ní Riada and Brian Crowley are the outgoing MEPs. Brian Crowley will not be standing again.

    Dublin

    In Dublin, 19 candidates have been declared.

  • Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil).
  • Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin).
  • Gillen Brien (Solidarity People before Profit).
  • Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party).
  • Clare Daly (Independents for Change).
  • Mark Durkan (Fine Gael).
  • Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael).
  • Gary Gannon (Social Democrats).
  • Ben Gilroy (Independent).
  • Rita Harrold (Solidarity-People before Profit).
  • Alice Mary Higgins (Independent).
  • Hermann Kelly (Independent).
  • Tony Bosco Lowth (Independent).
  • Aisling McNiffe (Independent).
  • Mark Mullan (Independent).
  • Eamonn Murphy (Independent).
  • Gemma O’Doherty (Independent).
  • Eilis Ryan (The Workers Party).
  • Alex White (Labour).
  • The outgoing MEPs are Brian Hayes, Lynn Boylan and Nessa Childers. Only Lynn Boylan is standing again.

    Shed and hills on fire as dry conditions heighten risk
    A series of blazes has hit agricultural land and buildings and a status orange warning remains in place.

    Fire brigades from Carrickmacross and Castleblayney attended a hay barn fire on Saturday night in Co Monaghan.

    Meanwhile, crews in counties Dublin and Wicklow battled several gorse fires in the hills along the border between the two counties in the past two days.

    Wicklow Fire Service reported gorse fires at Clogga, near Roundstone on Friday, and at Ballyfolan in the Kippure valley on Saturday.

    Dublin Fire Brigade tackled a number of brush fires along the southern edge of the city, including a gorse wildfire near the Hellfire club on Saturday.

    These incidents follow a large gorse fire in Annagry, Co Donegal on Friday, which destroyed two houses in the area.

    Firefighters have urged members of the public to be vigilant when out in the countryside this Easter weekend as dry, warm weather conditions continue to pose a fire risk. The Department of Agriculture has issued a status orange forest fire warning valid until Tuesday.

    "Most recent fire incidents appear to have taken place on lands associated with turf cutting, but additional risks may also exist on areas commonly used for public recreation," the Department warned.

    Controlled burning of vegetation on agricultural land is not permitted until 31 August.

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    Casey calls for increased CAP budget
    Additional requirements on farmers and inflation should be covered by EU payments, while a Brexit package should include targeted producer support, candidate for MEP Peter Casey has said.

    Independent European election candidate Peter Casey has said he would fight for a larger budget for the next CAP if he is elected MEP next month.

    “The CAP budget must be increased to account for inflation and to compensate our farmers for any additional requirements imposed on them by the newly reformed policy,” Casey said in a statement this Sunday.

    Outgoing MEPs on both the agriculture and budget committees have already passed motions in favour of an increased CAP budget after 2020. The level of funding now depends on contributions agreed by national governments in all EU member states.

    Brexit package

    The Midlands North-West candidate has also called for direct aid in case of a hard Brexit including emergency EU market disturbance supports, targeted direct producer payments, long-term structural adjustment support and the setting-aside of State aid limits.

    “Should we find ourselves in a no-deal Brexit situation, there must be provision for an immediate EU aid package to support our farmers and safeguard the presence of their produce on UK shelves. It is also important that any EU aid takes account for currency devaluations arising from a weakened pound,” Casey said.

    He will be among candidates taking part in the first of a series of husting organised by the IFA on Wednesday in Claremorris, Co Mayo.

    Click here for a list of all other candidates in the European election.

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    Continued rise in non-fatal accidents involving livestock
    Due to the majority of farmers being self-employed or sole traders, there is widespread under-reporting of serious non-fatal accidents on farms.

    There has been a steady rise in the number of non-fatal accidents involving livestock over the last 20 years, according to figures from the annual Teagasc National Farm Survey.

    In 1996, livestock were involved in 23% of all non-fatal accidents.

    The latest figures show livestock now accounts for 43% of all such accidents.

    Rise in accidents

    Minister of State for Trade, Business and Employment Pat Breen said the rise in accidents relating to livestock was largely in line with expansion in the agriculture sector and the significant increases in dairy and beef numbers.

    Responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy, the minister said work was continuing with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to encourage safe livestock management.

    Under-reporting

    Figures would indicate there is widespread under-reporting of non-fatal accidents involving livestock.

    On average, 100 non-fatal accidents in the agriculture sector are reported to the HSA annually.

    In comparison, figures from the annual farm survey indicate there are between 2,500 and 3,000 serious non-fatal accidents on farms each year.

    Minister Breen said the sector was predominantly made up of self-employed and sole traders, who “unfortunately do not always report their accidents or injuries to the HSA”.

    It is a requirement for all workplaces, regardless of size, enterprise or sector, to report accidents which result in an absence and the prevention of an employee from performing their normal work for more than three consecutive days.

    Fatal accidents

    When it comes to fatal accidents, livestock account for 16% of all deaths in the agriculture sector.

    In 2018, five people were killed following incidents with livestock.

    Cows and heifers are by far the most dangerous category of livestock.

    They were involved in over half of fatal accidents, which mainly occurred during the calving period.

    Bulls represent 15% of livestock deaths, while horses account for a further 10%.

    Previous HSA inspection campaigns indicate that livestock handling facilities are generally good, with the risks of injury arising when handling facilities are either not used or not used properly.

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