Take a pledge and become a Pioneer
At this time of year we often look at our lives and decide it would be good to make a few lifestyle changes — read more books, go to the gym a couple of times a week, get the house or garden into better shape, or perhaps especially after the festive Christmas period, go on a diet and/or take a break from alcohol.
Some people decide it’s a good time to detox from alcohol and also to create more space to think about their drinking habits.
In England in 2013 Alcohol Concern launched a campaign called Dry January and it’s something that has probably crept into social life here too. Too often in life overindulgence in alcohol can be an acceptable way to try and cope with, or cover up for, other problems but it can never be a solution.
In the Pioneer Association we would encourage people to take up a short-term or temporary pledge at the start of this new year. The aim of the organisation is to offer up our own abstinence as a sacrifice or a way to try and help somebody close to us, who may be struggling with an alcohol or drug abuse problem.
The ISPCC reported this week that it dealt with 1,040 messages from children on Christmas Day, about family problems, loneliness, and mental health issues, but that many of the messages reflected the impact of alcohol abuse in the children’s homes.
If you are already a non-drinker or perhaps were a Pioneer at some point in your life, why not go one step further this year and become a Pioneer or return to the organisation.
If you are a Pioneer, then why not become a more active one and get involved in a nearby centre or start a centre in your parish this year?
There is a huge need for people to “intercede for the addicted” and so much that could be done.
You can join or take a temporary pledge online at pioneerassociation.ie or contact myself on 086 3642619 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find us on facebook.com/ corkpioneers
Let’s make farming great again
The principle of a farmer getting paid for his work must apply.
To make farming stronger, farmers need to tie board members to a solid principle — to enforce minimum price for our products, thus ensuring farmers get paid for their work. Farming leaders’ links to big business and politics must be severed completely for them to be fully effective.
We have seen, over the past year-and-a-half, board members of co-ops simply watching the minimum price of a litre of milk, for which farm leaders said was 26c a litre, being broken on several occasions without action being taken.
Farmer board members should be asked to enforce the principle of not leaving milk price go in under this cost of production. The price cut of 1c a litre cost farmers €65m, which immediately put pressure on other co-ops to lower their price to compete in trading their own products on a level playing field.
Enormous damage has been done which should never again be allowed happen — and farming chiefs should be asked to back this principle.
The debt build-up on farms, as well as cash reserves that have been eaten into but which can’t be seen, is significant, with bills going unpaid or else people going to another supplier to get fresh credit when banks are reluctant to lend money.
The producers of corn, beef, vegetable, dairy, and mushrooms are the engines that drive agriculture. The producer taking the full hit when it comes to price cuts, when underselling on a large scale is taking place isn’t sustainable.
A recent survey of European milk price put Ireland well down the league table of price being paid back to farmers; Cyprus led the way at 56.16c per kg and Ireland came in at only 29.91c, as seen on the Agriland website dated December 14. This proves that milk is being sold at well below a price level that others can command.
Board members should be asked to enforce this principle of farming leaders’ minimum price to stop this underselling.
Farmers have an obligation to protect farming for the next generation and to see a reward for producing food which is expensive and labour intensive, and produced to a good quality, for all farm products.
This principle should be brought to EU level to get full backing because it makes a mockery of their Single Farm Payment schemes when there is no floor on price, and renders it useless as a tool to compensate for low prices to the farmer.
I think people who deal with farmers daily should be asked to sign up to this principle remembering that we pay their price for their services.
Farmers are workers and like all other workers deserve payment for their work.
Farmers are now getting a poor standard of living for their long hours’ work and there is a dangerous precedent being set by letting the producer become the new poor.
I would urge farming leaders to invoke this principle to protect their members’ right to be paid for their work. We respect others’ right to be paid for their work — let’s see them do the same.
Young farmers are making the decision to go farming everyday — let’s reward them for their decision. Let’s put structures in place so that they can repay debt and earn a decent standard of living.
We will see rural Ireland going into decline if no action is taken on price for farmers. People must realise the producer is the engine that drives agriculture, that there is only so much before it is damaged beyond repair if structures aren’t put in place to protect it.
Farmers will not get respect until they have structures in place to protect their income because respect must be earned, it won’t be given freely by those who buy their produce.
Young farmers’ prospects are being destroyed by endeavouring to load more debt onto them while not taking into account the banks’ unwillingness to give further credit to farmers, in many cases because they probably haven’t got it themselves.
The whole agricultural industry needs to work as one, together, to make farming strong again.
Happy campers in the land of politics
Isn’t this new dawn of politics exciting? Can’t wait for the new year, and more new politics to look forward to. We all know politicians get involved with politics to help mankind along the path of life.
Money means nothing to these Good Samaritans. It’s purely about the privilege of being able to serve one’s country. Politicians see people as friends, and want to solve problems for us. Even when there are no problems.
That unfortunate little misunderstanding can be resolved in a democratic way. Just as long as Joe Punter votes in a correct manner. Always be advised by Politico when it comes to decisions. He knows what’s best for us. For he is a political scientist. He is the founder of metaphysics.
And firmly believes in mind over matter. He don’t mind, and you don’t matter. Politicians are great for making you simultaneously laugh and weep for humanity. That’s because he loves us, and wants to be open, and transparent with us, in this new dawn of politics.
He wants us all to be happy campers. Happy campers we are, happy campers we have been, and, as far as he is concerned, happy campers we will always be
Collins Barracks brought the carols
Just to clarify for Donal Donovan (Irish Examiner letters, Dec 28, ‘Sing us a different tune’) at least 70% of the musicians from the final piece on the Carols From Cork programme on RTÉ 1 on Christmas Eve, which featured members of the three bands of the Defence Forces, were in fact members of Band 1 Brigade, which is based in Collins Barracks, Cork.
Taxing situation of dreadful roads
We have the highest vehicle and tax insurance in Europe and yet our roads are in a terrible state.
You just have to drive from Kinsale to Bandon — if you are lucky you won’t get a puncture in the many patched-up potholes near roads frequently used by the emergency services and gardaí.
Our car insurance has rocketed upwards and 40 years’ no claims bonus means nothing now when you shop around for cheaper insurance. Mine has doubled and I went from a 1.4-litre to a 1-litre engine.
I wonder would the council cap the roads if we all stopped paying road tax for our diabolical roads.