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Irish family farms on low incomes must be safeguarded – McConalogue

first_imgCalls have been made for the Pillar 1 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) ceiling of €60,000 to be adopted in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by Ireland to protect family farms.According to figures released on Friday by Fianna Fail, just 1% of Irish farmers would be affected by a ceiling of €60,000 being put on the Basic Payment Scheme in the next CAP.Charlie McConalogue said: “Last year, the European Commission proposed BPS payment capping in the €60,000-€100,000 range for the CAP post-2020. “The next CAP reform should permit Member States to decide on the capping of direct payments at national level. Secondly, it is Fianna Fáil policy that the next CAP should reduce the current BPS payment ceiling to €60,000 in Ireland. The current ceiling is €150,000.“Such a policy shift would ensure that future CAP funds safeguard small and medium-sized farmers.“Based on latest parliamentary question reply data, over 99% of all eligible farmers (123,258) received a 2018 basic payment of under €60,000,”“Furthermore, a new ceiling at this level would provide a €74 million pot annually (€517 million over a 7-year CAP programme) to target supports to vulnerable sectors and strengthen measures for generational renewal,” McConalogue added. “This is a socially progressive policy which will safeguard the family model of farming and those on low incomes,” he said.“Fianna Fáil were the first political party in 2017 to call for a €60,000 BPS ceiling. We will continue to campaign to achieve this as a key plank of our agriculture policy in the time ahead.”Irish family farms on low incomes must be safeguarded – McConalogue was last modified: March 8th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:charlie mcconalogeDonegal Farmingfarminglast_img read more

SA passport made more secure

first_imgSecurity measures similar to this Canadian passport will now be used to make the South African passport safer. (Image: Security-int)Khanyi MagubaneAs part of the Department of Home Affairs’ turnaround strategy, from 8 April 2009 South Africans applying for a passport will receive a document with improved security features, making it more difficult to forge.Talking to the media on 2 April, Department of Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the document will see a significant improvement in the security of the South African passport.“One of the major differences between the old and new passport is the pure polycarbonate data page that replaces the current security paper data page with its overlay film.“Personal data will in future be laser-engraved into the data page instead of being printed on the overlay film,” she said.The introduction of the new document is part of a strategy to overhaul the department’s system, with the emphasis on increased efficiency and security.In addition, the department intends on dealing with the backlog challenges, which is currently slowing down the issuing of birth, marriage and death certificates.According to Mapisa-Nqakula, the home affairs team is hard at work in dealing with the influx of refugees.“Another area in which huge improvements are balanced by remaining challenges is the issue of refugees.“Despite the far-reaching improvements we have made to our processes, the fact is that our systems were not designed to deal with the number of people entering our country at the moment,” the minister said.Mapisa-Nqakula said with the help of the new online verification system, when passports are produced at immigration points, the fingerprints that appear on them would be checked against those that appear on the online system to verify its authenticity.To this end, the department is expected to open the Tshwane Interim Refugee Reception center during April.Heeding an international callOne of the main contributing factors that prompted the department to make the move towards a new, safer passport was the high number of fraudulent South African passports being used to enter countries abroad.In the United Kingdom, the situation deteriorated to a point where that country’s government enforced a visa requirement for South African visitors to the country, who previously did not need one.A statement issued by the British High Commission highlighted its concern at the ease with which illegal South African passports were being made available.“[It is a] big concern and an unacceptable threat to the United Kingdom’s borders with regards to illegal migration and national security.”Since the beginning of March, all South Africans without a previous UK stamp in their passports are required to obtain a visitor’s visa from the UK High Commission. This system will be in place until the issue of fraudulent South African passports is reviewed at a later stage.The holiday visa will now cost South Africans R991 (£65). A transit visa will cost R686 (£45).Despite home affairs’ new passport regulations, the UK government says the updated documents will not necessarily change their minds about the visas.“We are very happy with the steps the South African government is taking to improve its passport but it doesn’t mean that the visa requirements will be reconsidered soon,” said Russ Dixon, the spokesperson for the British High Commission.  Dixon says the waiver to the visa requirement would be considered only at a later stage.Mapisa-Nqakula agreed that their negotiations with the British government were ongoing, “We talk continuously with the British government and have a good relationship.”She said with the help of the new online verification system, when passports are produced at immigration points, the fingerprints that appear on them would be checked against those that appear on the online system to ensure a match.Meanwhile, the department’s counter-corruption unit will continue to work in partnership with the South African Police Service and National Intelligence Agency to identify staff members within the department involved in corruption and fraud.So far, 66 home affairs officials were arrested and a further 18 suspended on allegations of fraud during the 2008/2009 financial year.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] Related articlesUK promises visa flexibilityUnivisa for SA tourists Expats allowed to vote overseas  Useful linksDepartment of Home AffairsBritish high commissionlast_img read more

Mandela’s Mvezo’s school dream realised

first_img20 January 2014 Madiba’s dream of a secondary school at his birthplace of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape was finally realised with the official opening of the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology on Friday. The R100-million school, built in partnership by German engineering company Siemens, the Mvezo Development Trust, the community of Mvezo and South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, will enable 700 learners from about 24 feeder primary schools to study engineering, science, technology and agriculture. Speaking at the opening of the school, President Jacob Zuma said, “Madiba had to travel far to obtain secondary education because there was no secondary school in this area. Siemens has ensured that the children of Mvezo receive a state-of-the-art science and technology school.” Zuma said Mandela was passionate about education and the plight of children, as they were the future of the country. “That is why he was always raising funds to build a school in the country, particularly among the most disadvantaged communities. This is a legacy that should be continued.” Although there was an improvement in the country’s matric results, particularly in maths and science in 2013, Zuma said there was still a long way to go to getting learners to take a real interest in the subjects. “Societies advance through science and technology, and our country should not be left behind. We should make science and technology a joy for our learners.” Zuma urged the school’s new learners to use the opportunity and build a bright future for themselves. “The Mandela School of Science and Technology must be a training ground for the leaders of tomorrow. We want you to produce leaders in various fields, in honour of the distinguished man after whom the school is named.” The school is part of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, an R8.2-billion public-private initiative which aims to eradicate the 496 “mud schools” in the country, and provide water and sanitation to 1 257 schools and electricity to 878 schools by March 2016. Source: read more