Supporting rural development a priority for Government – Taoiseach
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was speaking at a Project Ireland 2040-themed event held in Westport, Co Mayo on Friday.

Continuing to support ongoing rural development and the agri-food sector is a priority for the Government, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

"We want to strengthen Ireland’s rural fabric and support the communities who live there by planning for the future growth and development of rural areas, with a special focus on the renewal and development of smaller towns and villages," he told a Project Ireland 2040-themed event held in Westport, Co Mayo on Friday.

“This Government has set ambitious targets for rural areas. We will help create an additional 135,000 jobs outside the Dublin region by 2020, and revitalise over 600 towns and villages.

"We will support more than 4,000 new community projects, double investment in flood relief works by 2021, and ensure that all homes and businesses are connected to high-speed broadband.

"I believe that Project Ireland 2040 will maximise rural Ireland’s potential for current and future generations.”

The Project Ireland 2040-themed event was based around the National Planning Framework Strategic Outcome of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities, which focuses on balancing regional growth and investment in rural regeneration.

A key commitment of Project Ireland 2040 is the provision of a new €1bn budget over the period 2019-2027 through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which will provide investment to support rural renewal for suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas.

Creating stronger communities

The forum was co-hosted by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said “reaffirmed this Government’s commitment to rural Ireland and in particular to the continued development of the agri-food sector".

The Minister added that the agri-food sector remains Ireland's "most important indigenous industry and contributes €26bn to our economy and connects rural Ireland to the world".

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The farmer's daily wrap: Delvin Mart canteen rodent problem and details of EID
Catch up with all the top headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Tonight will become quite windy, with freshening southerly breezes.

It will be predominantly dry, but there will be a few patches of rain and drizzle about.

Minimum temperatures of 5°C to 9°C, according to Met Éireann.

Tuesday will see a dry day in many central and eastern counties.

Rain will extend across most of Munster and Connacht by the afternoon.

Rain will then gradually spread eastwards during the evening, with some heavy bursts possible.

Highest temperatures of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh south to southeast winds.

In the news

  • Problems with rodents have led to the closure of Delvin Mart canteen.
  • Information leaflets on new EID tagging regulations are to be sent out with Sheep and Goat Census forms.
  • Concerns mount as the clock continues to countdown to March 2019, when the UK is expected to have an approved exit plan in place and Theresa May has deferred a Brexit vote in the Commons.
  • Patrick Hurley of Carhoogarriffe, Leap, Co Cork, appeared at Kenmare District Court last week, accused of stealing cash from a 93-year-old Kenmare man.
  • The new assistant principal in Kildalton qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.
    Kildalton appoints new assistant principal
    The new assistant principal qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.

    James Ryan has been appointed as the new assistant principal in Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny.

    Ryan currently lectures in dairy production and manages the 110-cow dairy enterprise on the farm.

    Three of his former students were awarded FBD young farmer of the year and he has previously worked as a Teagasc dairy business and technology adviser in Tipperary and education officer in Skibbereen.

    “I am really looking forward to this new role, as I am passionate about teaching and instilling a love of agriculture, and in particular dairy farming, to students,” Ryan said.

    He was also congratulated in his new appointment by head of Teagasc education Tony Petitt, who said: “James brings to this role a wealth of experience of delivering education courses, both in theory and in terms of practical application on farms. I wish him every success in this post.”

    Ryan takes over as assistant principal from Tim Ashmore, who has been appointed as the education programme's verification specialist in the Teagasc curriculum development and standards unit.

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    Rain intensifies as winter sets in – weather report
    After a relatively dry autumn, November has seen above-average rainfall for most of the month.

    Autumn 2018 has been marked by relatively mild and settled weather, according to the most recent quarterly Met Éireann weather report.

    Storms Ali, Callum and Diana brought strong gusts, with wind speeds of up to 115 km/h recorded during Storm Ali at Mace Head, Co Galway on 19 September.

    Strongest gusts

    Ali also recorded the strongest gusts, with 146 km/h recorded in the same place on the same date.

    Storm Ali will also remain in the minds of many farmers as being guilty of cancelling this year’s National Ploughing Championships at short notice, with an additional day added on to satisfy punters.

    Barring stormy weather, farmers enjoyed a relatively mild back-end, after what had been a trying year of difficult weather conditions.

    Many farmers were able to extend their grazing season and the majority of seasonal rainfall was below their long-term averages in September and October.

    However, rainfall was very much dependent on location.

    Just three very wet days were recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in comparison with 17 very wet days in Newport, Co Mayo.

    Overall, the report indicated that rain levels have intensified as winter has set in.

    November saw above-average rainfall for most of the country, with the west and northwest particularly hard hit.

    The last part of November and beginning of December were wet and this is reflected in the rainfall figures.

    Totals for the past two weeks are above normal almost everywhere. They were over twice the average values across the southern half of the country.

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