Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue says the government is being negligent in refusing to seek EU approval for a permanent farm compensation loss scheme for farmers affected by adverse weather.
Minister Michael Creed recently confirmed that the Fine Gael led government chose not to include a scheme in Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP), which would compensate farmers from losses caused by bad weather.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “Under the RDP, member states can provide for funding for the restoration of agricultural land and production damaged by natural disasters and adverse climatic events. However, this Government has decided not to fund such a scheme despite the increasing regularity of extreme weather events as demonstrated by Storm Ophelia.
“This decision is at odds with the Government’s own recently published Draft National Adaptation Framework, which stated “the number of intense storms is projected to increase over the North Atlantic region. Projections suggest that the winter tracks of these storms may extend further south and over Ireland more often”.
“I find the government decision not to put an adverse weather compensation fund in place extremely difficult to comprehend.
“Considering the huge underspend in the Rural Development Programme to date with many farm schemes running behind target, the monies are there to fund a permanent scheme to safeguard farmers from losses incurred from adverse weather events”.