April 8, 2024
Government response to weather conditions affecting farmers not good enough – Claire Kerrane TD

Continued heavy rainfall has further delayed turnout of livestock and planting, and it is expected that challenging conditions could continue. Many farmers are now facing financial strain as a result of the impact delays to their usual springtime activities.

Yet, despite repeated calls the Minister has not introduced specific measures to support farmers through these difficult conditions. A delay to some farm inspections was announced last week, which is welcome, but any further response has not been outlined.

Teachta Kerrane said:

“So far, the government’s response to the challenges of the heavy rainfall and soil conditions is seriously lacking.

“Farmers and farm organisations have made clear the strain the situation is causing farmers and they have outlined the need for support with managing difficult soil conditions as a result of the weather, and continued delays to turnout of livestock and planting.

“This is a situation that is affecting farmers across the board, it is not confined to one sector and so clearly a comprehensive response is needed.

“Just last week I called on Minister McConalogue to consider delays to farm inspections and that has since been announced, which is welcome.

“But more measures must be outlined without delay – what has been announced so far is just not good enough in terms of providing some relief to farmers at this time.

“For example, I understand it was suggested by farmers at the National Fodder and Food Security Committee (NFFSC) two weeks ago that farmers be allowed to feed meal and silage on hills and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), as much of this is dry land at the moment and doing is less likely to affect scores or delay payments.

“While that will not be the only measure that is needed at the moment, it is the kind of solution that must be considered by the Minister and his Department as part of a joined-up response to the challenges facing farmers.

“Farmers are solution-oriented and know what supports they need to deal with challenges as they arise. The very least the Minister and his Department can do is listen and consider these suggestions as part of their response.

“As well as this, Minister Heydon apparently stated last week that a Fodder Support Scheme is still ‘on the table’. It is important that the provision of such a support be confirmed without delay, if that is something that is going to be introduced.

“It is unfair to keep farmers waiting for supports, particularly when so many are under real pressure and when they need those supports now.

“I have called on the government to outline their response and they must provide that clarification urgently.”

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