• Cattle have died in fields in East Mayo after consuming plastic that is blown into fields from illegal dumping in rural areas, while the problem of fly tipping in woods, bogs, and rural areas is a complete blight on the landscape, according to Charlestown based Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry Murray.

    The councillor raised his concerns about indiscriminate dumping , describing the practice as “getting out of control” since Christmas in some areas, at the monthly meeting of Claremorris Municipal District.

    He acknowledged that the council has made a number of successful prosecutions against persons for illegal dumping, nonetheless, he argued significantly more resources now need to be assigned to containing the problem.

    He described two major problems – littering along the sides of roads from cars, and then the more premeditated discarding of bags of rubbish in rural areas.

    Councillor Murray spoke to Midwest News about his concerns today and said the issue will come before a full meeting of Mayo county Council.

  • An investigation is underway after the Dublin to Westport train hit a herd of cattle on the rail track near Tullamore yesterday.

    Significant damage was caused to the train, and eight cattle were killed in the incident which brought services to a halt on the line serving  Galway and Westport.

    No passengers were injured in the incident but there were delays of up to three hours as they were transferred to a replacement train.

    Full services are said to be operating again this morning.

  • A farmer with cattle can commercially tax a new jeep while a farmer without cattle, owning just sheep cannot, and according to Independent West Mayo Councillor Michael Holmes the situation is simply crazy.

    He argued at this week’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council, this kind of an anomaly is just one of many that is causing young people not to opt to farm or live in rural Ireland.

    The councillor says the deterioration of services generally in rural Ireland is causing decimation of farms and people.

    A recent survey undertaken in a part of West Mayo showed that in 15 years time the 70 herd or flock owners now in the area, will be reduced to less than 20 and he says something has to be done to address rural decline.

    He says he is personally aware of up to ten small businesses in the west Mayo area that have decided or are seriously considering closing down at present.

  • IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has accused the cattle factories of crippling cattle farmers financially with the cutting of beef prices. He claims the latest drive by the meat plants to cut prices below a base price of €3.80/kg will do serious financial damage at farm level.

    He says cattle in the UK had increased by 4p/kg per week for the last 3 weeks and he contrasted this with prices cuts from the Irish factories.

    He told Midwest News today that the factory pull on beef prices is inflicting massive damage on the weanling and store cattle trade in the marts across the country and undermining the suckler cow herd.

    The IFA National Livestock leader said this year farmers have had to endure an extremely long and severe winter/spring period with massive meal bills. On top of this the drought involved farmers having to feed meals on grass at very significant additional expense and all of these bills are still there to be paid.

  • A Mayo Senator is due to sit down with the Finance Minister in the next number of days to push the case for an additional funding provision for suckler farmers in the budget.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says that she is concerned about the situation many suckler farmers find themselves in at present.

    She says there are a huge percentage of farmers in this region that are suckler farmers and they are struggling for a number of reasons.

    84% of cows in Mayo are suckler, with 93% in Roscommon/Leitrim falling under that bracket, while there is an overall figure of 81% for the west and northwest.

    Senator Mulherin raised the matter at this week’s Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting and also met with IFA representatives ahead of their picket outside the meeting of the Beef Forum on Wednesday.