John Connell Column
Farmer, author and journalist John Connell’s Countrywide column.
Cap Reform Debate
MEPs Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fáil and Grace O’Sullivan of The Green Party debate the latest CAP reforms voted on this week in Brussels, the bill has attracted much criticism from environmentalist who have labeled it as “Green Washing”.
Broadcaster and farmer Darragh McCullough reports on how farmers can move to more organic methods of farming and visits an organic farm in Co Laois.
Dealing With World Hunger
Professor Robyn Alders, Honorary Professor with the Development Policy Centre within the Australian National University speaks to Damien about the new Concern report on world hunger. Professor Alders was one of the contributors to the report.
Farming In The City
Damien visits The Guinness farm in Castleknock in Co Dublin, one of the few farms inside the M50 to find out more about farming in the capital.
Laura Burke Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Laura Burke of the EPA joins Damien to discuss a range of environmental issues and what the environmental trends are telling us.
Countrywide’s Lorna Siggins reports from Galway where a group of litter pickers the 'Claddagh Beach Clean-Up Volunteer' have seen an increase in littering from Covid masks and other discarded PPE.
Farming Statistics With The CSO
Cathal Doherty of the CSO talks to Damien about the farming census and the importance of returning forms to the CSO to get the best and most accurate farming data.
A Day At The Mart
Countrywide reporter Suzanne Campbell visits Carnaross Mart in Co. Meath to assess the mood amongst the buyers and sellers and the ongoing challenges faced by marts during Covid.
Biodiversity and Tillage Farming
Damien visits a tillage farm in Co Louth in what is a very busy time on tillage farms across the country and finds out how biodiversity is playing an increasingly important role in tillage.
Climate Action Bill
Damien discuses the climate action bill announced this week by government with Sadhbh O’Neil policy advisor to the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and Thomas Duffy President of Macra na Feirme.
A Walk In The Woods
Countrywide reporter Ella McSweeney takes a walk in the woods with Author Richard Nairn who has just released his new book Wild Woods The Magic of Irelands Native Woodlands.
Economist Jim Power
Ahead of the upcoming budget Damien discusses the impact of Covid on the economy with economist Jim Power now that we are beginning to see figures emerge from the department of finance.
Drama During Covid
Countrywide reporter Brenda O'Donoghue talks to Regina and Jimmy from the world of amateur dramatics about the impact of Covid on drama during a time when plays would usually be filling halls the length and breadth of the country amidst the All Ireland Amateur Drama judging season.
Snail Farming In Carlow
Damien takes a slower than usual walk with Carlow based snail farmer Eva Milka and finds out more about this niche field of farming. Eva’s farm is the first snail farm in Ireland and the country’s only R&D centre for the production of free-range Irish escargot.
Seamus O'Rourke - second reading
Seamus is back to read from a chapter from his book 'Standing in Gaps' on the battles his farming family fought with the whin bushes & rushes that grew in the poorer fields on their farm.
Luke Reaper - the next normal
On RTE TV last Thursday night, a special programme called The Next Normal was transmitted & it was really asking how we were feeling about Covid 19 six months into the public health emergency. There was a major survey of public opinion included in the programme, asking people about their fears, their worries and their priorities. And the analysts noticed some interesting trends among farmers in Ireland. Luke Reaper from Behaviour and Attitudes joins Damien.
Foraging for Mushrooms - Suzanne Campbell
It’s harvest time on farms in many parts of the country & it is also harvest time for wild foods & a growing interest in them. Foraging for blackberries, elderberries and sloes is already happening along country lanes and this week Suzanne Campbell met up with a mushroom forager to learn more about picking wild mushrooms.
A No Deal Brexit - John Bruton
The EU Commission President Ursula Van Der Leyen & British PM Boris Johnson are to talk today in a latest effort to try & break the deadlock in the bitter Brexit standoff between the UK & the EU. The EU is taking legal action against the UK if they don’t delete their internal markets bill which unpicks aspects of the Withdrawal agreement which was signed by all parties in good faith last January. Damien is joined on the line by ex Taoiseach & EU Ambassador to Washington John Bruton.
Seamus O'Rourke - first reading
Standing in Gaps is a new book by Seamus O Rourke. He describes it as a memoir of his first eighteen years, but perhaps it is more a love letter to his family & neighbours, the country lanes & fields of his childhood, the place that formed him - Drumshangore, County Leitrim.
Dairy farmer Shane Fitzgerald
Damien visits Co. Waterford dairy farmer Shane Fitzgerald who spoke about his passion for farming & nature & who is trying to do what he can to protect biodiversity on his farm & to mitigate against the stark problems mentioned by the EPA director Laura Burke at the recent Agricultural Science Association conference.
The Great Irish Farm Book
Darragh McCullough joins Damian to talk about his book The Great Irish Farm Book.
Later this week Mairead McGuinness will reach the final hurdle in the process of being appointed as EU Commissioner with responsibility for Financial Stability; Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, FISMA for short. Naomi O'Leary of the Irish Times joins Damien from Brussels.
Phil Coulter on getting over life in lockdown.
From the city to the country
Brenda Donohue meets a young Dublin family who took the bull by the horns, upped from the city and is now living just outside Gorey.
Damian visits the Apple Farm near Cahir in County Tipperary and talks to Con Trass.
The late Pat Smullen RIP
Countrywide would like to extend deep sympathy to the family of the late Pat Smullen who passed away at the young age of 43 this week. In July 2018, shortly after his diagnosis, Pat spoke to Damien at length on the prorgramme & here is a little extract which sums up the positive nature & humility of the man, the late Pat Smullen. May he rest in peace.
Going Green saves money,energy & the planet & the Environmenal Protection Agency are just as keen to get us to use the 3R’s Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Brian Lally visits the Holmestown Waste Management Facility in Wexford & spoke to Leonard Poole & Pat O'Gorman.
We have not had the National Ploughing Championships this year but we have had a harvest & by all accounts it has been a tough one. Damien is joined on the line now by County Wexford tillage farmer Mark Browne who is also chairman of the IFA grain committee.
The Sweetest Apple Tart
They say that the food of your childhood always tastes the sweetest & farmer Catherine Quinn used the time during lockdown to create an open fire, with all the cooking equipment from her childhood, to make an apple tart just like her mother used to in the 1940s. This report from Catherine's grand-daughter Hannah Quinn-Mulligan.
Labelling - Dos & Dont's
There are very strict guidelines when it comes to food labelling & making health claims on labels. Journalist Amii McKeever has been looking into the whole business of food labelling for a series she is doing in Irish County Living & she joins Damien on the line.
Damien visits Ailbhe Gerrard in Brookfield Farm in County Tipperary. Ailbhe was an ambassador last year for the Irish Farming for Nature Initiative which recognizes the efforts which farmers make to farm with nature & sustainability & caring for the environment in mind.
Brendan Hennessy in Carlow and Aedín Dunne in Laois.
Food Businesses and Covid Economic Impact
David Leydon, IFAC's Head of Food & AgriBusiness
Camino in Downpatrick
Brenda Donohoe meets the two nuns who launched their own camino walk.
Suzanne Campbell visits Beechlawn Organic Farm in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.
Michael Brennan, political editor of the Business Post and Mark McAuley, director of Forest Industries Ireland on the backlog of licences for planting and cutting down trees.
Ella McSweeney reports from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.
John Jordan, CEO of Ornua joins Damien in studio this morning.
Irish Beef Farming
Beef produce and PGI status
Irish wool has sadly dropped so much in price in recent years that wool from upland sheep is now unsaleable. Suzanne Campbell has been looking into this issue & meets farmers making new products from their wool.
Dogs worrying sheep
Pat Lynch, retired vet and regular walker in Wicklow is on the line to Damien.
Colm O’Regan’s take on the harvest
Colm O’Regan gives us his take on the trials and tribulations of harvesting at the allotment.
Covid-19 and mental health of the youth
Damien chats to Cian Aherne, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Manager with Jigsaw Limerick and Mike Mansfield, Communications & Fundraising Manager at Jigsaw Ireland to see how young people’s mental health has been affected by Covid-19 as they return to education.
Flowers and Bees
Darragh McCullough reports from Mags Riordan’s bumble bee flower farmer in west Cork.
Lorna Siggins heads to the Moy River in north Mayo to find out more about how 2020 has been a year like no other in terms of salmon fishing.
An Irish farmer helps vulnerable in Yemen
Mike McGann, a dairy farmer from Longford, joins Damien to discuss how he’s trying to help people in Yemen as they continue to try and deal with a devastating famine as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
A tough year for tillage farmers
Damien heads to Monageer near Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford to visit John Murphy’s tillage farm to see how he’s getting on with this year’s harvest and how Covid-19 has generally impacted farmers.
Paddle Boarding Rescue - extended interview
Sara Fenney speaks in depth to Lorna Siggins about her and her cousin being rescued after spending 15 hours at sea when they went paddle boarding at Furbo beach in Galway last week.
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