Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Charlie McConologue says he was shocked to learn that the Government has chosen not to include any provision in Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme to compensate farmers from losses caused by adverse weather.
Under EU rules, member states can choose to provide funding for the restoration of agricultural land and production damaged by natural disasters and adverse climatic events.
The latest correspondence from the Agriculture Minister confirms that Ireland under successive Fine Gael led governments decided not to seek this funding provision, while also admitting that Ireland has been a victim of “adverse climatic events, as evidenced by the recent freak flooding in North Donegal”.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “At a time when farm incomes are on the floor, I find it difficult to understand the Minister’s decision not to include the option of a compensation package for farmers who have seen their farms battered by severe wet weather and flooding. These conditions have wreaked havoc on the tillage and suckler farm sectors in particular over the past number of years
“The recent deluge of heavy rains have brought farmers to tipping point once more. Livestock are being housed indoors in many parts of the country, which will put pressure on fodder stocks. Meanwhile, tillage farmers are desperately hoping that dry weather will take hold so their harvest will not be destroyed for a second year in a row.
“Considering the huge underspend in RDP schemes, as well as the fact that many other schemes are running behind target, the money is there to fund a permanent scheme to safeguard farmers from losses incurred as a result of adverse weather events. This option needs to be included on the next RDP amendment submitted to Brussels by the government”.