Beef farmers in Kerry to benefit from a financial support package in response to Covid-19- Griffin A €50m support scheme will be made available to beef farmers in Kerry who have been financially affected by Covid-19, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said, “My colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced Cabinet approval for an allocation of €50 million for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19. “The Irish beef sector has suffered from ongoing market disturbance related to this pandemic which has had a substantial impact for beef farmers in Kerry and for the rural economy as a whole. “Fine Gael has been making every effort to assist people whose incomes have been affected by restrictions brought in to ensure the health and safety of all and by economic developments globally. I hope that the support package announced today will go some way to restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Kerry and their families. “This support for the beef sector is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock and to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises. “Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to the local economy here in Kerry, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining our communities as we recover from the economic effects of Covid-19. Farming is very important to Fine Gael and we will always work to represent farmers’ interests. “Minister Creed has confirmed to me his department will be engaging with stakeholders regarding the details of the scheme to be developed, which must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework. “A meeting of the Beef Taskforce will also be planned for the end of June, to take place by video conference in light of Covid-19 restrictions,” Minister Griffin said. Minister Creed said, “This is part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that all the appropriate support measures are put in place at national and EU level for our farming communities. I urge all actors in the supply chain to recognise their interdependence and work collaboratively towards our shared objective –a beef sector which is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.” Minister Creed concluded “I have now made over €200 million in new money available specifically to beef farmers over the past two years on top of the €300 million under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).” ENDS Notes to Editors: Covid-19 supports The delivery of essential services to farmers, fishermen and the food and forestry sectors has been prioritised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout the course of the pandemic; including services such as export certification, scheme payments, and protocols to allow mart services to continue on a limited and controlled basis. Following a campaign by Member States, spear-headed by Ireland, the European Commission introduced a scheme of aids to private storage under the CAP for certain dairy products, and certain beef and sheepmeat cuts. In May, the Minister announced the Covid-19 voluntary Temporary Fleet Tie-up Scheme for fishing vessels, to be implemented under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-20. Farming specific supports available include: an increase in the budget for the Calf Investment Scheme to €4 million; bringing forward of balancing payments under GLAS and the Organic Scheme; and various practical flexibilities for applications for the main farm schemes. Farmers, fishers and food businesses will also benefit from access to the Government’s liquidity and investment responses to Covid-19 impacts, including the expansion of the Future Growth Loan Scheme for capital investment and Microfinance Ireland loans for working capital. While the banks have extended their payment break from three months to six months for those directly impacted by Covid-19, the Government has announced an expanded Credit Guarantee Schemes, which will support working capital lending to SMEs, including farmers and fishers. In addition, food businesses are eligible for the Covid Working Capital Loan Scheme, as well as Enterprise Ireland supports to maintain business continuity and liquidity, and Bord Bia supports to accelerate eCommerce and expand marketing activities. For further information please contact Brendan 087-6528841
June 12, 2020
Live-saving, innovative 24/7 text service launches in Kerry – Griffin If you can’t talk about it, text about it A free, anonymous and inclusive text service has been launched to provide support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has said. Minister Griffin said: “‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people who need it. “Many people – particularly young people – don’t feel comfortable making that call or reaching out for help. “This is a service that will offer a lifeline to people of all ages across Kerry and indeed across the country. “It’s been an exceptionally difficult time for our country, and this service is needed more than ever. There is no doubt the launch of 50808 by Crisis Text Line will save lives.” Minister Griffin continued: “50808 has been in development for some time, and it couldn’t launch at a more important moment. “The service’s trained Crisis Volunteers will help people through this current crisis and will continue to provide free, 24/7 support in the long term. “This life-saving service is part of the government’s strategy to protect the mental health of all members of the public. “I’d like to commend my Fine Gael colleagues, the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly for prioritising this essential service. “Since the initiative began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational. “Of the almost four thousand people supported; ● 832 people were thinking about suicide ● 360 people were self-harming ● The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), Depression/sadness (32%), Relationships (29%), Isolation/loneliness (23%) and Suicide (18%) ● 80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34 ● 65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary ● 30% of texters identified as LGBTI+ ● 35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition ● Reasons for texting: Didn’t have anyone else to talk to (50%), Wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me (48%), More comfortable texting than talking (40%), To embarrassed to talk on the phone or in person (31%), Didn’t have access to a therapist (31%) Minister Griffin continued: “The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texter’s at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue. “50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning in pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support. “The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.” Minister Griffin concluded: “The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenging time for us all. If you need to talk, please pick up the phone and text 50808 where you will be connected to a trained and compassionate volunteer. The service is available 24/7.” ENDS Notes to Editors: About ‘50808’: ● 50808 is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. From breakups or bullying, to anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, our Crisis Volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations. Our aim is to provide immediate support in the short term and connect people to resources that will help them in the future.
June 19, 2020