Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Food Jackie Cahill has warned the Government that thousands upon thousands of gallons of fresh milk will be lost unless milk collection lorries can get access to dairy farms up and down the country.

Deputy Cahill added, “Most dairy farms have been inaccessible to lorries as a result of heavy snow accumulation. Dairy farmers have been storing their milk but with no collections, there is simply no capacity left in most farms.

“On my own farm outside Thurles, we haven’t had a collection since Wednesday. I’m at full capacity right now – every drop that’s milked from now on will have to be simply poured down the drains.

“Unless access to dairy farms is restored, the Irish dairy industry will lose significant volumes of milk and income for farmers,” said Cahill who is a former President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association.

“Storm Emma and the Beast from the East have made nearly, if not all, secondary routes impassable. Animal welfare issues continue to be a problem. Many farmers in hilly areas have been unable to get access to sheep and other livestock. This will also have to be addressed as the slow thaw process continues.

“I am calling om the Department of Agriculture and the National Emergency Coordination Committee to prioritise the reopening of roads to dairy farms.

“There is a significant amount of agricultural machinery available to the State, but we need to see better coordination between farmers, local authorities and bodies such as the Defence Forces and Civil Defence.

“This is a valuable commodity that is at the core of Ireland’s rural economy. Every single one of these farmers has budgeted for selling this milk. Any loss of income could have a terrible impact on farm incomes and on rural Ireland, concluded Cahill.