Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, says the Minister for Agriculture must set-up a modest hardship fund immediately for farmers who are experiencing an unprecedented fodder crisis.
Deputy Ó Cuív raised this issue today in the Dáil and expressed his disappointment that Minister Simon Coveney failed to answer questions instead sending Junior Minister Seán Sherlock to address the issue.
“The Minister has failed to acknowledge just how dire the fodder crisis is for thousands of farmers. There seems to be no understanding on the part of Fine Gael or Labour of how urgent the need is; some farms will not survive until the end of the week unless Minister Coveney introduces emergency measures immediately.
“Farmers have been struggling since last July when unprecedented rain resulted in reserve feeds dwindling, this coupled with bitterly cold temperatures over the past few months have devastated farm incomes. Farmers cannot afford to feed their livestock as bales of silage are being sold at inflated prices. Bodies like Teagasc are inundated with calls and banks are simply not giving extra credit facilities; farmers have nowhere to turn.
“The farming community in many rural areas is in the midst of a severe crisis and all pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears. Cattle are dying by the hundreds and unless Minister Coveney acts now; this will quickly escalate into a national crisis.
“This is having a huge detrimental effect on the mental health of farmers and the family farm life. I am again calling on Minister Coveney to establish a modest hardship fund for these desperate farmers today.”