From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Western People – 07 May 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
11, May 2003 - 17:18

Christy Loftus - Saving Trimble’s bacon and our whinging councillors

I am trying to make my mind up about Loftus at Large. I guess columnists try to provoke people to get a reaction one way or the other. This week he portrays a strong Republican line combining the Iraqi war and the non-elections north of the border in a commentary that ends up as follows "While the Iraqis might be trusted with a democratic system that cannot be allowed to the Neanderthals who operate in Northern Ireland. What a sad commentary on a century of unionist hegemony. What a sad commentary on two centuries of British imperial rule in Ireland. And of course, few people will see the real situation with the clarity that I do." I presume he has his tongue firmly in cheek with the last sentence. This concluded a good rant against David Trimble and Tony Blair for leading poor Bertie astray. He then goes on to make some excellent points about whinging councillors who want free bin collection services and a free fire service. He suggests that rather than charging them 100 euro, the person who has a chimney fire in the their house should simply be locked up for being too lazy or too mean have their chimney cleaned in the first place. The council elections are in the offing and councillors are out to convince everyone that once again they can have a free lunch. He ends "Voters should mark these whingers down in their little black books to remind themselves who not to vote for when the elections come around in fourteen months time. For god’s sake, if they are this bad now, what will they be like when the elections are called?" Indeed!

Growing rift in fisheries Board: CEO accused by member of ‘national sabotage’

The Western reports this week again on the continuing row between the polluters and conservationists. The report details the slanging match between the IFA and the Western Fisheries Board. The nub of the matter is complaints made by the Western Fisheries Board to Europe about the failure of the Irish REPS scheme to protect water quality in rivers and lakes. According to the Western People report – In a letter to the Environment Directorate in Brussels, Mr Roche expressed his Board’s "unhappiness with the lack of any proper consultation in relation to preparation of the present (REPS) scheme, the secrecy regarding those participating in the scheme and the absence of any working arrangements between the Dept and the various statutory bodies which are responsible for the protection of the environment." He wrote: "It seems extraordinary to us (Board) that vast amounts of public funds are being spent on a scheme which is intended to protect the environment while, at the same time, the Dept administering the scheme refuses to cooperate with the statutory bodies responsible for environmental protection."

I reckon the IFA have a nerve. The Department of Agriculture is a very secretive department with, until recently at least, one overriding function - to give money to farmers. They pay over hundreds of millions euros on behalf of European taxpayers every year. (It may be, however, that recently leader Dillon has gotten so far up the nose of the Minister for Agriculture and Bertie Ahern that they no longer want to know the IFA at all). The REPS programme is widely seen as a ruse to give farmers another cheque in the post disguised as an environmental protection scheme to stop farmers damaging the environment. The exposure of the department’s lack of co-operation with the real protectors of the environment such as the fisheries boards has obviously annoyed the IFA (whose members are the beneficiaries of the cheques that arrive courtesy of the scheme and the taxpayers of Europe who fund the scheme). God forbid that they would really have to protect the environment and - worse still – imagine that they would have to prove that they had adhered to their individual plans for which all that money is being paid. Random inspections with no advance warning! God no! And as for the Fisheries Board poking its nose in and finding pollution that resulted in a farmer being disqualified from receiving all or part of their REPS gravy train payments? The temerity of anyone that might request this as a matter of routine. This is what the IFA calls national sabotage!! The polluter doesn't pay principle? The whole nation must get behind the boys on the tractors so that they can rip-off the German and British taxpayer? They must be joking.


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