Wind Turbines - Nuisance Or Not?
Damien visited Roscommon to hear local objections to wind turbines. He was also joined in studio by Jim Power and Colm McCarthy to debate those concerns.
Ireland's Food Exports To China
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed discussed the potential for exporting Irish beef to China. James O'Donnell from Bord Bia joined us live from Shanghai to have an in-depth look at Chinese market opportunities from the Irish Export perspective. Ireland currently exports a huge proportion of its pork, dairy and even duck to China.
Tractor Singing Goes Viral
Tractor singing Star Leanne Rowlette & her father Sean joined Damien to discuss her recent trending on social media. Leanne's Dad filmed and posted a video of her beautiful singing from atop a tractor seat and needless to say, it went viral.
The Benedictine Monks of Silverstream
It's Holy Week & for Christians worldwide it is the most significant feast in the Church Calender. Damien visited The Benedictine Monks of Silverstream Priory outside Stamullen, Co. Meath earlier in the week.
Sean Finan, President of Macra na Feirme
There are about 100,000 farmers in Ireland & Sean Finan is President of Macra na Feirme, the young farmers organisation. Sean joins Damien to discuss the next generation of farmers & he has put together a document on the main points that would be in the interests of younger farmers today.
Growing tea in Ireland - Suzanne Campbell
In Ireland, we are more likely a tea culture, even though the coffee culture has made huge inroads into Ireland over the last few years, because we are the second highest consumers of tea in the world. Of course tea and coffee is harvested in warmer climates & at higher altitude such as China, Africa & India. But could we grow our own tea in our own back garden. Well we are about to find out as our Food & farming reporter Suzanne Campbell has been to a nursery this week to meet Irish plant supplier Thomas Quearney of the garden supplier Mr. Middleton.
Food Cloud - Iseult Ward
Its estimated that around one third of food produced in the world is wasted. Some of it never makes it to the shop shelves in the first place. But the focus is growing on trying to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. In France they are well on the way for making it mandatory for supermarkets to stop food waste & there are various groups here in Ireland also trying to tackle the issue. None more so than Food Cloud. Iseult Ward, co-founder & CEO joins Damien in studio this morning.
Aintree Grand National Day
Yes it is Grand National Day at Aintree with the big race off at a quarter past five.
Joining us now from the course is Leo Powell editor of the Irish Field
From Brexit to cattle farming, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary offered his unique insight on a range of topics as he spoke to Damien earlier.
MEP Marian Harkin
Three weeks ago, police in Brazil raided a number of meat processors suspected of packing rotten meat for export to Europe & consumption in local schools. Brazil exports billions of euro worth of poultry & beef every year. But this week MEPS called on the EU to immediately slap a ban on meat imports from Brazil & end to the Mercursor trade discussions. One of the MEPs calling for the ban is Midlands North West MEP Marian Harkin & she joins Damien on the line.
Drink Drive new proposals
Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae going head to head their on the divisive issue of increasing the penalty for those caught drink driving at the lower end of the intoxication scale.
So what is the view on the ground. We sent Daniel Clancy of Grey Heron Media to a rural town in South Co. Limerick to see what local feeling was about the new proposals
Tagging of Cows
There is news emerging from Brussels this morning about drastic plans to insist that farmers name their cows individually. In a new initiative aimed at improving animal welfare standards, whilst treating the animals with more respect & dignity, tagging of cows is set to be outlawed & farmers will instead be issued with name plates for each individual cow. On the line is Catriona Murphy, Farmers Journal, Prof Adrian Krebs of Berne University in Switzerland, the man behind the project & Matt O’Keeffe, dairy farmer from Co Kilkenny & Editor of the Irish Farmers Monthly Magazine.
Surfing Farm – Brenda Donohue
After years travelling the globe surfing, Fergal Smith has now settled in Moy, Co. Clare with his family on a few acres of land where he is mainly growing vegetables in what he calls his garden rather than his farm. Brenda travelled West to the banner county to meet Fergal where he was just finishing a surf.
Fair City actress Rachel Pilkington there on why she became a vegan. It stroked up quite the online frenzy between meat eaters, farmers vegetarians & vegans. Thi s morning we are joined on the line by sheep farmer from Co Westmeath John Fagan who tweeted last week his annoyance at the way farmers were portrayed by the vegan movement. Also joining Damien in studio is Declan Bowens who runs the Back into Daylight animal sanctuary in Navan Co Meath.
Kofi Annan & CAP
Everyone is having their say on how the next Common Agricultural Policy should look as the public consultation process as it continues. This week, Macra na Feirme published their own proposals which focus on incentivising older farmers to transfer land to younger farmers. This week former UN Sec Gen Kofi Annan was in Brussels to speak at the Forum of the Future of Agriculture on the topic of sustainable development goals in farming. Damien spoke to the former UN Sec Gen in Brussels & asked what he thought of the CAP.
Big Week on the Farm
First this morning, Damien speaks the Shalvey Family in Maudabawn who will host this year’s Big Week on the Farm which will be featured on RTE 1 TV from Monday next at 7 o’clock, presented by Áine Lawlor & Ella McSweeney.
RDS Career Fair
It is estimated that there are around 120,000 farmers in Ireland ranging from the hobby farmer with a couple of acres & a few sheep to the bigger dairy & tillage operators. It is a number that dwindles year on year yet the number of jobs associated with primary farming are increasing, in associated areas of food processing, animal health, research & so on. At the RDS later this week over 1,000 jobs in the agri food sector will be on offer. In studio with Damien are William Faulkner, Head of Human Resources at Fyffes, & Mary Phelan of the Farmers Journal.
Holy Mackerel (Fish Wars(
Sean O’Fonoghue of the Killybegs Fishermans Organisation, his counterpart Patrick Murphy from Castletownbere & fishermen Kieran Doherty & Michael Gallager , Killybegs & John D O’Sullivan from Castletownbere speaking in that report with Damien.
CAP - Common Agricultural Policy
Mention the Common Agricultural Policy & a heated debate is sure to ensue. Each yer almost 60 billion euro of EU money is funnelled into keeping European farming ticking over & supplying us with food that is subject to strict rules. Supporters say it keeps food affordable, detractors say it only props up unsustainable & unprofitable farming. But CAP policy is always under review. Suzanne Cambell was at a meeting of the Committee of the regions held in Brussels this week & joins Damien this morning.
With fears of the effects of Brexit on Irish agriculture continue to occupy minds. This week the Agricultural Science Association & Bord Bia both held big events analysing the possible effects. Wetherspoons operates 1000 pubs in the UK & here in Ireland & buys millions of euros worth of food & drink from the EU countries every year. Tim Martin founded the Weatherspoons chain of pubs in 1979 & this week spoke to Anna Hill of the BBC about Brexit effect on his food & drinks purchases.
Andy Dermody is a farmer from Twomileborris, Co. Tipperary & he joins Damien on the line this morning. Also we have Dr Jennifer McClure, a geneticist with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation to discuss further what Andy speaks about.
Blogger Maura McElhone
Columnist & story teller Maura McElhone, a townie who fell for a farmer told us last month about the big move to live with her farming boyfriend. She has been keeping a blog on life on the farm & is back to tell us how she is settling in on the farm at the busiest time of the year, lambing & calving.
Sheep Farmer James Murphy
We are at the peak of the lambing season, over 30,000 farms across the country, 2 million lambs will be born by the time the season winds down in April. Damien popped down to Inistigoe in Co Kilkenny to chat with well know local sheep farmer James Murphy who farms with his wife Chrissy.
John Cummins - Ear to the Ground
It’s 27 years since this was first aired on RTE TV. Mairead McGuinness now an MEP presented the very first Ear to the Ground in 1994, making it among one of the longest running TV series on Irish TV & still going strong. Joining Damien in studio this morning, is the man who was its first executive producer & you could say founder John Cummins who has retired.
The Irish Angus Producer Group
Learning about beef & where it comes from & how animals are reared has been brought literally into the classroom in a number of secondary schools across the country. The Irish Angus Producer group chose five schools to take part in the competition whereby the schools were given young Angus calves & it was up to the students to rear thoses animals to beef & present a project about the process as part of their Leaving Cert Agricultural Science studies. Winners Eithne Murray, Tara Frehill, Emily Browne & Shauna Jagar from Our Lady’s School in Terenure in Dublin.
Lisdoonvarna - Brenda O'Donohue
Every September since the 1880’s single people looking for love have flocked to the Lisdoonvarna’s Matching Making Festival. Local man, Dermot Petty, captures the adventures of the festival in his play titled ‘Jiving Lessons for the Broken Hearted’. The play has it’s World Premiere in the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna tonight. Brenda Donohue hot stepped it down to Lisdoonvarna for the dress rehearsal.
John 'The Bull' Hayes
It is ten years since the historic meeting between Ireland & England in the Six Nations in Croke Park. The events of the game were relived in a documentary on RTE this week & joining Damien on the line this morning is John Hayes.
New Chocolate flavoured drink Temple Dairy
What do you do when your career as a professional soccer player comes to an end? Marie Curtain faced that dilemma after a sports career with Ireland Women's National Team from 2000 to 2012 ended. Marie returned home to Limerick & joined forces with her dad Sean, a retired dairy farmer & developed a new chocolate flavoured milk drink called Temple Dairy. Brenda O'Donohue went to the family farm in Athlacca, Co Limerick.
Cheltenham - Dessie Scahill, Suzanne Campbell & Peadar O'Scannell
Its Cheltenham time & a great opportunity to speak to one of the most identifiable voices in sports commentary, Dessie Scahill. Each year around 150 horses travel over from Ireland along tp the Cheltenham festival along with thousands of punters. Peadar remains in studio & our reporter Suzanne Campbell is also here. Suzanne visited some of the trainer's yards this week to see some of the hopefuls.
Busy time of year on farms
Well it is a very busy time of year on farms, particularly livestock farms as this is the time of year when most calves & lambs are born & so a busy time for vets tending to births & sick newborns. Included among them is Peadar O'Scannell who joins Damien in studio this morning.
First, Damien speaks to egg producer Thomas Fitzsimons in Virginia County Cavan. The compulsory housing of all commercial flocks & backyard flocks remains in place until April 30th. From next week egg & poultry meat sold as Free Range will now have to sticker 'Barn reared or Barn Eggs, laid by hens temporarily housed for their welfare'. Maybe supermarkets or the IFA might design posters as well informing consumers of the change.
Isla Grant - chat & performance
Earlier this week Scottish country & music singer, Isla Grant called in for a chat & performance, a break in her very busy tour of Ireland & Canada.
Irish Trade - Suzanne Campbell
Today sees the start of a large Irish trade mission to the Gulf states which has its centrepiece Irish food. Finding new markets is more important than ever as Britain edges towards closer ties with US agricultural imports. Suzanne Campbell went to London this week to hear about consumer attitudes there, food safety & the impact it will have to Irish food & farming.
Controlled Burning in Kerry
To address the increasing number of wildfires, the forest service, Coillte & Teagasc organised a demonstration in Castlemaine, Co. Kerry before the season of legal burning closes on Tuesday. Majella O'Sullivan found out what landowners can do to burn gorse safely.
Extreme Weather - Prof Myles Allen
These days we are quick to attribute any extreme weather to Climate Change or are we wrong? Daragh asks Myles Allen, Professor of Climate Physics in Oxford University, is there no such thing as normal weather anymore?
The Cottage Market
Daragh visits St Peters Church of Ireland Parish Hall in his hometown of Drogheda, where he meets up with an enthusiastic group of men & women who have set up their own cottage market in the town a year ago.
Making money from chicken manure
Declan O’Connor spoke to Damien about his company BHSL.
Living with no electricity or running water
Brenda Donohue met Margaret Gallagher who lives in a cottage with no running water or electricity. She maintains her traditional rural lifestyle is the secret to her happiness.
Tara McCarthy, new Chief Executive of Bord Bia
Tara McCarthy spoke to Damien in her first broadcast interview since taking over from Aidan Cotter as Chief Executive of Bord Bia.
Are supermarkets and consumers killing our supply of Irish vegetables?
Suzanne Campbell took a look at why it's hard to find Irish produced vegetables.
Farmers waiting on GLAS payments
Padraig Corcoran, a farmer in Roscommon, explained his particular case and Caitriona Murphy of The Irish Farmers Journal, who has been writing about this issue, gave us the background.
A tour de force, Mary McEvoy is currently starring in John B Keane's play The Successful TD with Jon Kenny. There are just the two of them on stage, Jon playing Tull McAdoo & Mary his long suffering wife, Betty, plus Mary drifts into other characters too.
Damien brings us a report from this weeks Agricultural Science Association conference on Climate Change. A very important subject which Countrywide will be returning to over the coming months because there are lots of opinions from many other stakeholders on this important issue facing us all, but in particular which will impact more & more on farming.
Brenda Donohue & Etiquette
If you don’t know what etiquette is well we have our reporter Brenda Donohue here in studio with Damien, to tell us that there is a school to teach you & how she met Mary Coleman, a farmer who came up to Dublin this week to learn etiquette!
Reminder - Avian Flu
Yesterday there were 2 further cases of H5N8 confirmed - a grey heron in Midleton, Co. Cork & in a mute swan in Lough Eorna, Co. Tipperary, (in the same area as previous cases in whooper swans). This brings the total of wild bird positives to 8 - The Department of Agriculture have asked us to ask people who own so called backyard flocks to house them or if you have any questions to contact the Avian Flue helpline. Avian Influenza Helpline: 076 106 4403 and Outside of Office hours: 1850 200 456
Dr Pamela Byrne - Food Safety Authority of Ireland
The role of the food inspector must be a very interesting one, especially if the 2016 report of the Food Safety Authority is anything to go by! Joining Damien in studio this morning is Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
PJ Nolan - Dairy Farmer
Navan dairy farmer PJ Nolan is up & about milking & kind enough to take a call from us this morning. Damien congratulates him on been elected onto the new look executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland & PJ tells us how it all came about.
3 weeks ago our reporter Brenda Donohue was in Loughrea with the McInerny’s who have been continually in business for 4 generations, so we asked were there many family businesses out there who could beat that! Here we have some of those who answered the call! Mentioned above are Michael Johnson, Tullow, Co Carlow - Majella Jones Supervalu, Miltown Malbay, Clare Hazel Hodgins John P Hopkins, Wickow Town & Lonan Burke, PBourke & Co. Carrick on Suir.
Farmers! Beware of people offering you cheap farm sheds because if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Caitriona Murphy is deputy News Editor of the Farmers Journal & for the last 2 weeks she has been following the story of a man going around the country offering to construct farm sheds & at very competitive rates - the only problem is, there dosen’t seem to be any sheds at the end of it! We have Catriona in studio to outline the scam, how it works & the scale of it & joining on the line from Portlaoise is Pat Enright, President of the Irish Association of Steel Fabricators
Clann Credo - community loan finance
In studio with Marty is Brenda Donohue & the CEO of Clan Credo, Paul O Sullivan. This week Brenda visited The Rathmore Social Action Group in Kerry to see one of the projects that Clann Credo Community Loan Finance has helped. Paul O’Sullivan will explain how it all works. For further information go to www.clanncredo.ie
The O'Neill Sisters
You may remember last week that we had the Murphy’s from Kerry in to sing, they are 3 sisters from the Kingdom & guess what? We have 3 sisters from the Kingdom here again to sing for us - but they are called the O’Neills, Fiona, Naomi & Evangeline.
THE BAND OF MURPHYS
Cindy, Candy and Pat- 3 of The Murphys are with us this morning singing The Empty Room and talking to Marty. The band are from Killorglin in the Kingdom of Kerry and have already topped several of the Country and Folk Itunes charts. Their CD is titled Breaking Ground.
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