Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says she’s deeply disappointed by the Agriculture Minister’s refusal to commit to a compensation package for tillage farmers, who have been badly affected by the severe wet weather last Autumn.

Fianna Fáil used its Private Members time in the Dáil this week to bring forward a motion calling on Minister Michael Creed to establish a crisis fund for those farmers who were impacted by the bad summer weather.

Deputy Chambers commented, “The situation facing tillage farmers in Mayo, and across the western seaboard is particularly bleak.  The unseasonably wet summer resulted in waterlogged lands and widespread crop failures in affected areas.  This is an extremely serious situation for these farmers – they depend on the land to survive and now their livelihoods are on the line.

“The failed harvest is the last straw for these farmers.  They’ve been contending with increased price volatility and lower profit margins.  Combined with low grain prices, increased input costs and poor margins, the failed crop has intensified the income crisis and financial uncertainty.  Minister Creed wants farmers to use the new agri-fund loan scheme, but this is not the solution.   Farmers do not need loans, they need to be compensated for these unforeseen losses.

“The Government’s lack of action on this issue demonstrates just how out of touch with rural Ireland it is.  We have been calling for a crisis fund since the situation first emerged last Winter but our calls, along with those of the farming community have fallen on deaf ears.

“The Department of Agriculture is running an €86m underspend at the moment.  It’s estimated that €4.5m would cover the losses suffered by tillage farmers.  The money is there and I am urging Minister Creed to use it”.