Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson and TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has hit out at the Government for the length of time it is taking to make payments to farmers affected by the flash floods in Donegal last August.
In the aftermath of the flooding, Minister Michael Creed announced a compensation scheme for farmers; however, not one payment has been made to date.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “The floods which hit in August were unprecedented, and left many farms on the Inishowen peninsula extensively damaged. Large swathes of land were submerged, and the subsequent wet weather has meant that many of these farms are still completely waterlogged.
“Shortly after the event, the Department of Agriculture opened up a compensation scheme and despite the fact that the closing date for applications was the end of September, not one farmer has received payment. This is an extremely serious situation given the scale of the devastation caused. Many of those who applied for funding are reliant on their farm income and are now facing into Christmas with a vastly reduced revenue stream. This is a deeply stressful situation for them and their families.
“I have already contacted the Department and have sought assurances from Minister Creed that these payments will be made without delay.
“The fact that some farmers have been excluded from the scheme is completely unacceptable. I have been in touch with a number of farmers who lost grain and potato crops and who have been told that they are not eligible to apply for compensation. This is ridiculous. These farmers are reliant on their crops and have been left with no support. Their exclusion from the scheme is deeply unfair and I will be continuing to press their case with the Minister.
“The terms and conditions of the current scheme must be amended to ensure that some form of support is made available to these farmers. The flash flooding which occurred in August caught the majority of farmers by surprise and farmers should not be penalised for these freak events. No farmer should be left behind and Minister Creed must show some compassion and provide compensation for those whose livelihoods have been impacted”.