Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, says the Minister for Agriculture still refuses to acknowledge the very real crisis in farming where cattle are starving and dying on a daily basis due to a profound fodder crisis.
Today, the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee agreed to convene an emergency debate on the escalating crisis but Deputy Ó Cuív says he is appalled that Minister Coveney will not appear before the Committee until next Thursday and is refusing to take action.
“Minister Simon Coveney appears to be wandering in a world of his own. He was asked to appear before the Oireachtas Committee to force his hand to take action. He has disregarded the Oireachtas and insulted the Agriculture Committee.
“Cattle are starving throughout the country, farmers cannot afford to feed them; there is no help from banks and co-ops have been stretched to breaking point. The Minister refused to answer questions about the crisis in the Dáil this week and his responses have been pathetic.
“Asking the banks to provide more finance for farmers is a cop out by the Minister and illustrates just how out of touch he is. An Taisce is being inundated with desperate farmers ringing for help; many are losing hope.
“The Minster has had ample opportunity to act on the crisis. The Agriculture Committee has facilitated an emergency debate on the fodder crisis yet Minister Coveney only sees fit to appear before the Committee late next week and in the meantime he trots out the same answers as he has been giving for the last month.
“Many farmers will have gone out of business by next week, hundreds of starving cattle will have died. An emergency relief fund of €10 million is needed immediately to offer some respite for farmers, this is a relatively modest amount and I would again urge the Minister to act now for the sake of thousands of struggling farmers.”