end corruption,stroke politics, & incompetent administration

We must look after our poor farmers.!

Farmers and landowners who had been paid compensation payments for cessation of turf cutting on raised bogs as a result of agreementsreached in 1999, are now entitled to increased compensation, according to Minister for Finance Brian Cowen.(June 2005).

Minister Cowen said, "Last year, under the Partnership Agreement ‘Sustaining Progress’, the Government reached agreement with the farming community to increase the rates currently payable to owners of raised bogs designated for conservation in respect of compensation for cessation of turf cutting.!!

No statistics exist as to how many poor farmers are still laboriously digging turf for winter fuel, instead of throwing the switch on their modern oil fired central heating boilers. Nor are any enquiries in train,...these facts to ascertain.! It,s just an appendage of the notorious C.A.P. another "handout" of taxpayers money.

In the course of agreeing the 1999 scheme, it was stated that in the event of any increase in the rates of compensation within a ten year period, the increase should also be paid to those who had settled under the 1999 scheme rates.!! how wonderful .Retrospect benefits for those unfortunates who have settled for a lesser deal.Any retrospection for those citizens who paid for their old folks (now dead) to abide in your private nursing homes.??(Leas Cross)

"I am pleased to say that having consulted with my colleague, Dick Roche T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, he will shortly be confirming that the revised rates will now apply to those who settled under the earlier scheme." said Martin Cowan. (possibly our next Taoiseach, )

How soon will all the part time farmers/employees in "Bord Na Mona" be able to retire on full index linked pensions for downing their turf cutting tools.'And then "do a Pee Wee Flynn" and top up their pensions by planting a few conifers on their marshy , useless soil.?

Is it any wonder that Tony blair, the French and Dutch electorate, and the Swedish people are a little bewildered,and have cried halt to the whole charade.?

Do check your soaring E.S.B. (electricity) bill ,for more laughs.While the farmers are getting taxpayers dosh for not burning all that peat in our bogs,the E.S.B. not only burns lots of it-but adds the enormously wasteful cost of the exercise to your bill monthly (plus V.A.T.), under the grandiose sounding title; 'Public service obligations levy' !

According to the blurb on the bill, "The Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy relates to the purchase by ESB of the output of certain peat generated electricity, in the interests of security of supply, and the output of certain generating stations using renewable, sustainable or alternative forms of energy, in the interests of environmental protection, in accordance with a PSO order made by the Minister for Public Enterprise."

Now let us briefly review the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy: The facts.

Long derided for its butter mountains, wine lakes and fraud-prone bureaucracy, the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) is the single biggest common policy in Europe and accounts for more than half the EU’s £50 billion a year budget. It was founded in the decades after the Second World War in a bid to secure European self-sufficiency in food and ensure famine and food shortages were consigned to history. There’s little doubt Cap has brought prosperity to many big farmers across the continent but its impact on food production in the developing world has prompted allegations that it sustains global inequality and poverty. However, recent enlargement of the EU and moves towards a more liberal global trading environment have led to a degree of reform which sought to break the link between subsidy and production – or what was in many cases over production of food and livestock.

Prior to the 2003 reforms, the subsidy acted as a safety net which ensured the price of a farmer’s commodity never fell below a certain level. Parallel to this the EU offered protection to farmers by imposing duties on imports from the rest of the world. In turn farm goods produced under the European interventionist regime were and continue to be dumped on the world markets, prices to the disadvantage of producers in poorer countries. On the home front, it could be argued that this policy has created a dependency culture within the agricultural industry and rendered it less willing to adapt and innovate.

However, following pressure from both within and outside the EU, the most recent overhaul was agreed. But any efforts to reduce the size of the subsidy package were fervently resisted by Cap’s main beneficiaries – namely Ireland, France and Spain. Instead, a compromise deal was brokered which meant cash support was linked to the promotion of food quality standards and environmental farming methods. Farmers are now in a situation where it is no longer necessary to keep the maximum amount of animals and they can instead concentrate on diversifying or becoming more market-focused. While

failing to reduce the massive cost of the Cap, it is claimed that the new measures redistribute cash and give poorer farmers a better deal. Those advocating further reform of Cap, among them British Prime Minister Tony Blair, believe the vast amounts of money would be better spent improving Europe’s industrial capacity through investment in technology and research. To date these calls have found little sympathy in Ireland or France where the main political parties pander to the agriculture /farming vote.Unless there is a counter lobby among urban voters who pay inflated prices for their basic foodstuffs ,such as butter and meat,little will change in the C.A.P.budget

On the 1st of August 2001 the W.T.O. (World Trade Organization) meeting in Doha,Quatar confirmed the long-term objective already agreed in the present WTO Agreement: to establish a fair and market-oriented trading system through a programme of fundamental reform. The programme encompasses strengthened rules, and specific commitments on government support and protection for agriculture. The purpose is to correct and prevent restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets.

147 member governments agreed for the first time to begin a process;

" To abolish all forms of agricultural export subsidies by a date certain. They have agreed to substantial reductions in trade distorting domestic support in agriculture"

Without prejudging the outcome, member governments commited themselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at providing market access to third world countries: substantial reductions of export subsidies with a view to phasing out, all forms of these domestic supports: substantial reductions for all supports that distort trade. the C.A.P. is alive and flourishing. A lone voice , Tony Blair, has cried halt.

These reforms are still a wish list in 2005.!