Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue says Minister Michael Creed has shown himself to be totally out of touch with the needs of farmers by refusing to bring forward the 1st July grass cutting date for Traditional Hay Meadows (THMs) for farmers in the GLAS Scheme.

“Once again we are seeing Minister Creed being true to form – prioritising listening to his officials over ensuring that the needs of farmers are taken into account.  There is little doubt that flexibility could be shown as approval was given for extending the closing off date for THMs for farmers in difficulty as a result of the fodder crisis this Spring.  However, it is obvious that the Minister didn’t have the will to do so.

“However just as the Minister Creed doggedly refused to listen to farmers on the ground in advance of the fodder crisis, he is once again choosing not to intervene and provide the flexibility that would ensure farmers can save fodder by making full use of the current good weather spell.

“Despite the matter being raised in the Dáil this week, the Minister inexplicably still refuses to budge.

“With fodder stocks and reserves at an historic low and hay barns empty, it is crucial that there is a strong harvest of fodder this year. The Minister should recognise that it is important that farmers are allowed to avail of the good weather while it lasts.

“We know that the current hot weather spell is presenting many challenges for the farming community with slower growth rates.  They’re also having to be more vigilant in ensuring that animals are safe and have adequate water supply.   However on the positive side it can allow those farmers who wish to save hay to do so and replenish fodder stocks.   While the Minister does not control the weather, it should not be too much to expect that he responds appropriately to it.

“It is still not too late to show consideration to those farmers who are waiting on the green light to commence cutting.   If the Minister was to change his mind they could do so in full confidence that they will have the unbroken weather spell necessary to finish the job.   I am calling on him to reconsider his current position and to react to the needs of farmers rather than continue to be captured by his civil servants”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.