Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to ensure that either adequate insurance cover or a suitable compensation package is in place to cover poultry farmers in the event of any strain of Avian Bird Flu.
Teachta Carthy was speaking as it emerged that a case of the H5N8 strain of the disease had been confirmed in farmed poultry in England and in a wild bird in County Limerick.
Earlier this year, the government had put in place a compensation package for farmers affected by the H6N1, although payment has not yet been made.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Poultry Farmers are operating under extremely precarious circumstances. While they take every precaution possible to prevent Avian Influenza infecting their flocks, should they face an infection they have no resource as of right. Worse still, there is absolutely no insurance cover available to mitigate the risk meaning that entire livelihoods are threatened in the event of an outbreak.
“Earlier this year, I engaged with the then Minister for Agriculture and was pleased that a compensation package was provided to those farmers who had their livestock culled as a result of the H6N1 strain, albeit that the compensation levels came nowhere close to the actual loss of income.
“Last week I received confirmation from Minister McConalogue that those affected farmers have still not received the promised compensation although there is now a commitment that it will be forthcoming ‘imminently’.
“As we now face the scenario of further outbreaks of differing strains of the Avian Flu, it is imperative that the government provide a safety net either in the form of insurance cover or a standard compensation scheme for those affected. Minister McConalogue must bring this peace of mind to our poultry farmers.
“I have written to the Minister to request that he addresses this issue before we face the emergency of new outbreaks.”