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Tag Archives: EU

New measures to aid Clare farmers

A new package of measures has been announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to address difficulties in the dairy and pigmeat sectors. This is good news for Clare farmers, according to Fine Gael TD Pat Breen. “These measures are very welcome for Irish dairy and pigmeat farmers. Particularly positive is the decision made by the EU Commission to allow advance payments of 70% under the direct payments scheme and 85% for rural development schemes before completion of controls. These advance payments are expected to be made to farmers in Clare by mid-October and should significantly ease cash flow, he said. Deputy Breen said this package from the EU Commission is the result of hard work at a European level by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and reflects the majority of the demands presented by the Minister to the Commission in a six point plan. “The increase of more than 100% in the rate of private storage aid for …

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EU seeks Wi-Fi in tourist towns

County Clare stands to benefit from an amendment to a tourism report passing through the European Parliaments Transport and Tourism committee today (Tuesday), which calls on EU member states to provide free Wi-Fi in tourist towns and areas. Supporting the initiative, Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune commented, “Dublin and Cork already provide free Wi-Fi in parts of the cities and I don’t see any reason as to why we should not be rolling this out to more tourist towns and cities. Tech-savvy tourists would appreciate a way of checking emails, booking attractions, managing their flight bookings, posting pictures and keeping in contact with loved ones back home. In an increasingly competitive global tourist market, Ireland needs to ensure it is leading the way with its tourism offering. “What better advertising can we get than having tourists posting pictures and reviews of our towns on their social media sites? They are posting where they are and talking about their experience, free …

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CAP payments publication worries

ELDERLY farmers living in isolated areas could be targeted by criminals following the publication of names of recipients of direct Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) payments. Under CAP, for the 12 months up to October 2014, €75.58 million was shared by 6,310 Clare farmers. Farm leaders believe some elderly farmers in very rural areas “are now living in fear that criminals will use the details of their CAP payments as a reason to attack them and extort money from them in their own homes”. The publication of payments on the Department of Agriculture website has been described as an “invasion of privacy” and farm leaders are angry that they are the only group that has been singled out for what they claim is unfair treatment. Farm leaders have also pointed out that the published figures for individual farmers are gross amounts that do not represent the real profit on a farm after all the day-to-day expenses and costs are deducted. The …

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Irish house price increases top in EU

Ireland’s house prices were 16.3% higher in the last quarter of 2014 than in the last quarter of 2013, according to Eurostat estimates released today (Wednesday) This is the highest annual house price increase in the EU. The estimates also show that the rate at which Irish house prices increased over the year in 2014 was by far the fastest in the EU. However, the rate of increase slowed down as the year passed; from being up by 6.8% in Q2, then up by 6.2% in Q3, followed by a lower rate of increase of 3.8% for Q4. The year-on-year increase in Ireland is the largest among the EU Member States (for which data are available) for this period, and is followed by Malta (+11.0%), Sweden (+10.4%), Estonia (+10.1%) and the United Kingdom (+10.0%). The average house price increase in the EU for the same period was 2.6% in the EU, and 1.1% in the euro area. The largest falls …

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Shannon Estuary energy hub plan

An ambitious new EU energy package could see the Shannon Estuary serve as an energy hub for Europe and save Irish householders money, according to Sean Kelly MEP. The Ireland South MEP welcomed the announcement of the Energy Union and called on member states to work to harmonise their national energy strategies for the benefit of the entire EU. “Increased EU energy cooperation will see us improve the security of our energy supply, increase our competitiveness, and move towards a low carbon system. An integrated energy market brings more competition and ultimately more affordable energy prices for European consumers”, said the MEP. “It is clear that we are far too dependent on unreliable external sources for our energy supply, particularly Russia. There is an urgent need to diversify our energy resources to ensure the European consumer is not adversely affected by geopolitical crises such as the one we have seen in Ukraine,” he said. Mr Kelly said increased efforts to …

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Clare teachers get a blue star

Teachers from Clare and across the country have attend a training meeting for the Blue Star Programme in the European Parliament office in Dublin. Mairead McGuinness MEP, vice president of the European Parliament, said the programme adds a new and interesting dimension to the primary school agenda, giving pupils knowledge about the EU past, present and future. “The programme would not happen without the support, interest and work of teachers and I thank the teachers who took the time to attend the training day and who work tirelessly in their schools for the betterment of their pupils,” the Fine Gael MEP said. “The Blue Star programme provides children with knowledge about how and why the EU began; it introduces children to the idea of diversity in food, culture, music and traditions – the diversity of the EU. As an MEP, visiting schools and talking to children about the EU and my work as an MEP is a most enjoyable experience,” …

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Primary schools to focus on EU

Primary schools  in Clare are being urged to sign up by next Friday for the Blue Star programme. Blue Star is an exciting education initiative for primary school students across Ireland. The programme aims to introduce pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community to the EU, what it means and how it works. It has already been rolled out successfully in over 200 schools since 2011, and the intention is to increase this over the coming three years. All schools are eligible no matter how big or how small. Joe Bishop of European Movement Ireland, who manages the programme said, “We want to encourage schools to sign up by next week’s deadline, so that we can start to send all the information out as soon as possible. We have lots of free resources, advice and support available, including a great curriculum guide developed by teachers themselves. “We’re delighted that previous participating schools have been so positive about the Blue Star Programme. …

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McNamara quizzes US whistleblower Snowden

By Owen Ryan CLARE TD Michael McNamara chaired a hearing of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Assembly of the Council of Europe this week, which was addressed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who addressed the Strasbourg hearing by video link from Russia. The 30-year-old former US Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency contractor leaked thousands of documents revealing the extent of surveillance being carried out by US authorities. Now wanted in the US, he is in exile in Moscow. Mr McNamara said that what some of what Snowden told the hearing about spying on people involved in the protection of human rights. “He said the US Government had spied on human rights workers, had specifically targeted bodies like the International Human Rights Watch, the National Security Agency (NCA) had specifically targeted leaders and staff members in a number of NGOs, including some in the United States,” Mr McNamara explained. Mr Snowden addressed the hearing on the same day …

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