Speaking at a packed farmers’ meeting in Ennis last night, Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív called on the Minister for Agriculture to put his money where his mouth is and make €10 million available immediately to relieve the worsening fodder crisis.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “Steps taken yesterday by Minister Coveney to fast-track payments under various farming schemes will not help the most urgent cases. What is now needed is straight cash to assist farmers who cannot get credit and do not have enough money to feed their cattle.
“Examples of how extreme this emergency has become are farmers paying up to €80 for a bale of silage, almost 4 times what you would normally pay. I have also been informed that a farmer had to sell a dairy cow for the price of a dry cow because he needed to buy groceries for his family. This is how desperate some farmers have become.
“There has been a huge jump in the number of fallen animals on farms and there has also been a 100% increase in dead animals being brought to knackeries to be disposed of. Something must be done now and the procrastinating by the Minister must stop.
“There is no question of the Minister’s media know-how but unfortunately when it comes to translating this know how into action, farmers have been dramatically let down.
“While animals starve, families have literally run out of money. This is both a human and animal health crisis. Minister Coveney has finally recognised there is a crisis, now he needs to put his money where his mouth is and provide €10 million in emergency funding immediately.”