Up to 4,000 sheep killed and injured in dog attacks annually – IFA
Following a number of dog attacks on sheep in the Cooley Peninsula in recent weeks, the IFA speaks out regarding the issue facing sheep farmers across the country.

Statistics collated by the IFA indicate that dog attacks on sheep occur in the region of 300 to 400 attacks each year – with between 3,000 and 4,000 sheep injured and killed.

IFA National Sheep chairman John Lynskey reminds farmers of the impending threat that dogs pose to sheep farms across the country and the responsibilities that owners have.

“Unfortunately, I am taking calls on a frequent basis from sheep farmers around the country who have suffered attacks. There are far too many dog owners not taking the responsibility that goes with owning a pet. Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog under control at all times.”

John Lynskey reminded all dog owners, including farmers, of the legal requirement to microchip and register their dogs. All dogs must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database since 31 March 2016.

“Owners can be held responsible for any losses involved in dog attacks, with serious financial and legal consequences," said Louth IFA chairman Gerard Melia. "Farmers have a right to protect their sheep flock and can shoot a dog worrying, or about to worry their flock.”

What to do if your sheep are attacked

To combat this, he said that IFA has launched a protocol to help farmers who encounter a dog attack on their sheep flock. The IFA protocol involves a 10-point plan of action, covering what a farmer should do following a dog attack or sheep kill.

It deals with basic questions and outlines important aspects of the law, and how the dog warden service and the gardaí can help. It also sets out how to keep a full record of the attack, which can be used as evidence at a later stage.

Here is the IFA 10-step protocol in short:

  • 1. Stop the dogs.
  • 2. Follow the law.
  • 3. Inform the gardaí.
  • 4. Ring the dog warden.
  • 5. Contact the IFA.
  • 6. Ring the vet.
  • 7. Keep the evidence/take a picture.
  • 8. Get a valuation of losses.
  • 9. Inform your insurance company.
  • 10. Tell your sheep farming neighbours.
  • Read more

    Lambs killed in dog attack on island off Donegal

    Farmer airlifted to hospital following cow attack
    The farmer is in hospital following the attack but his condition is not life threatening.

    A Cavan man in his 60s was airlifted to hospital following an attack by a cow on a farm in Bailieboro, Co Cavan.

    The incident occurred at midday on Tuesday 21 May and the man received “serious injuries”, according to Gardaí.

    He is currently in Tallaght University Hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

    Gardaí and HSA are also investigating the death of a farmer involving a tractor which occurred in Fermoy last week.

    Ireland waiting for terms of €50m Brussels beef fund - Varadkar
    An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday about the Brexit beef fund.

    Ireland is waiting to see the terms and conditions of the €50m in funding from Brussels before it decides how the Brexit beef compensation is rolled out to farmers, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.

    Fifty-million euro in exceptional aid is to be provided to beef farmers given the collapse in beef prices in recent months. Ireland “will have to provide matching funding”, Varadkar said. This brings the total fund to €100m.

    He added: “We do not yet have the terms and conditions from the Commission, but as soon as we get them we will be able to develop a scheme and ensure that farmers get the money they need as soon as possible.”

    However, speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Monday this week, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said that it will be up to the beef industry and the Department of Agriculture in Ireland to decide how the scheme is rolled out.

    It will be a matter for Minister Creed to sit down with the beef sector to work out how it’s going to be paid

    “We didn’t launch the inter-service consultation within the Commission yet, which we will launch this week,” Commissioner Hogan said on Monday. "Therefore, it will be a matter for Minister Creed to sit down with the beef sector to work out how it’s going to be paid.”

    Once the implementing regulation has been adopted by the Commission, it then has to be voted on by the member states in a management committee. It will be following this committee approval that the Department of Agriculture can devise the scheme.

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    Call to prioritise farm-scale renewable energy
    Low interest rates should help farmers and other citizens to produce green energy on their properties, the industry body MREF has said.

    Large-scale Government investment in renewable energy needs to prioritise smaller projects including those on farms, the industry body representing suppliers and installers of equipment has said.

    "The Government will have to prioritise and prime the actions needed by homes, businesses and farms with grants and tax incentives in the next budget to incentivise the retrofitting homes, installing renewable technologies and helping businesses and farms adapt new practices and processes to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions,” said Pat Smith, chair of the Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF).

    Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton will announce a national plan to tackle climate change in the coming weeks across all Government departments and agencies. Smith said the country's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1m tonnes equivalent carbon dioxide every year for the next 30 years could cost €1bn per year.

    Low interest loans

    “Government must also ensure that there are easily accessible low-interest loans at sub 3% levels to assist homes, businesses and farms address these issues in a planned and economically sustainable way,” Smith said.

    He added that access to grid connections for producers of renewable electricity should be reformed. "For example, ESB Networks currently process a maximum of 30 grid applications a year when it is hundreds of connections that will be required."

    Smith also called for free grid connections for micro-scale generators, such as rooftop solar panels, and opportunities for farmers and other building owners to export part of the surplus energy into the national grid.

    EU directive

    Meanwhile, the Council of European Ministers formally adopted the final set of rules forming part of the Clean Energy Package this Wednesday. These include the already-adopted Renewable Energy Directive, which will force all EU member states to allow citizens to sell part of the renewable energy they produce into the grid within two years.

    Read more in our focus on renewable energy in this week's Irish Farmers Journal.

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