Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue has blasted Minister Michael Creed for his refusal to bring forward the 1st July grass cutting date for Traditional Hay Meadows for farmers in the GLAS Scheme saying that it shows a total lack of consideration for farmers who need to be able to respond effectively to current fine weather spell.
“Yesterday, I contacted Minister Creed requesting a once-off exemption to allow for earlier cutting and saving of hay and haylage as under the current regulations governing the GLAS Scheme, cutting is not permitted until after July 1st.
“However, in light of the expected spell of warm, sunny weather, many farmers are seeking relaxation of the rules by the Minister relax to allow them make use of the current good weather and get as much cut as possible.
“Given the importance of, and necessity for, good weather to save fodder crops, and the unpredictability of weather in general in this country, the request is firmly rooted in common sense.
“Minister Creed responded this morning to indicate that he did not intend to bring forward the cutting date and would be sticking to the current regulations. I believe that this is a very poor and short sighted decision by Minister Creed and shows once again that he is more inclined to listen to his officials than to ensure that the needs of farmers are taken into account.
“We saw during the fodder crisis this spring how Minister Creed consistently refused to listen to farmers on the ground and how, as a result, he and his Department were totally unprepared for the Fodder Crisis that he continuously denied would happen. He is once again showing himself to be out of touch with the needs of farmers.
“With fodder stocks and reserves at a historic low with most hay barns empty, it is crucial that there is a strong harvest of fodder this year. The Minister must recognise that it is important that farmers are allowed to avail of the good weather over the coming week. There is still 8 days to go until the 1st July cutting date and there is a very real chance that the weather opportunity will have passed by then and there is no guarantee that farmers will get another consistent spell thereafter.
“Minister Creed must reconsider his decision on this and permit farmers to make hay while the sun shines. It is simply unacceptable that the Minister would ignore a very reasonable request. He needs to reconsider his approach and change his mind. I will be holding him to account on this issue when the Dail returns on Tuesday if flexibility is not shown before then” concluded Deputy McConalogue.