November 16, 2011


Minister for Agriculture Simon Cove- ney joined Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, and the IFA to launch the Let's Talk: Dealing with Stress leaflet.

It was produced by the IFA as part of a series of joint initiatives with See Change, aimed at supporting farmers' mental health and tackling the stigma associated with mental health problems.

It contains information for farmers and their families on the causes and signs of stress as well as expert and practical advice and contact details for further information and support.

IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs chairwoman Margaret Healy said: "Fin- ancial pressures, increased regulation, unpredictable working conditions and long hours are the main causes of stress on farms. The last few years have been very tough for many farm families, due to falling farm incomes, with many farms now trying to sustain extra people due to the loss of off-farm incomes, as well as heavy debt burdens." IFA are currently hosting a series of national meetings to promote greater awareness of mental health problems and services.

Speakers from See Change and the Na- tional Office of Suicide Prevention have been invited to speak at each of the IFA's 29 County Executives meetings over the coming months.

* Let's Talk: Dealing with Stress leaflets are available on or from the IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs commit- tee on (01) 4500266) Propose s made on winter strategy IFA Environment and Rural Affairs chairman Pat FarreE has welcomed the launch of the Government's "Winter-Ready" information campaign as an important communication initiat- ive to advise people how best to prepare for the winter weather.

Mr Farrell said: "This cross-depart-ment information campaign is an im-portant step in ensuring that people areready for the winter weather. However,it must immediately be followed up withreal action on the ground.

"IFA has made detailed proposals tothe Department of the Environment inan effort to keep rural Ireland movingduring times of severe weather condi-tions. It is now essential that each ofthese measures is incorporated into thenational emergency response strategy.

"The association's proposals includethe development of contractor arrange-ments between farmers and local au-thorities, to ensure that farm machineryis available to remove snow and ice fromdangerous black-spots.

"Other measures include a require-ment for the designation of specific civicamenity sites as pick-up points for saltand grit and greater use of media, suchas radio and regional papers, to get in-formation to the public."