Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has expressed his disappointment at the Agriculture Minister’s failure to use some of his Department’s unused funds to provide for a crisis fund for farmers affected by the fodder crisis.
At a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and Food, Fianna Fail put forward the proposal to reallocate some of the unused funding to an emergency fund for farmers.
“The Department of Agriculture has almost €50m of unused funds across a number of different farm schemes, and at the meeting earlier this week, TDs and Senators were asked to approve the reallocation of this money”, explained Deputy Calleary.
“Knowing the extreme pressure that farmers, particularly in Mayo and along the west coast, are under in the wake of a wet summer, we asked for Minister Creed to consider allocating a portion of these funds to a specific fodder crisis scheme. This would not only help out the farmers who are experiencing a severe fodder shortage, it would ensure that provisions are already in place for farmers who may be hit later on in the winter as their feed stocks run low.
“Despite the fact that we were recommending a mere €4m out of a pot of almost €50m, the Minister ultimately decided to allocate the money to other schemes. This is extremely frustrating for farmers who have had their livelihoods so badly affected by the harsh weather over the summer months. Minister Creed is completely out of touch with farmers on the ground, and appears oblivious to the animal welfare issues which could arise as a result of the fodder shortage that has arisen.
“Farmers across Mayo have been some of the worst hit this year, and they are desperately worried about what lies in store in the weeks and months ahead. We need to source and secure additional stocks of fodder to protect our national herd.
“It’s deeply disappointing that Minister Creed chose to pass up an opportunity to provide a solution to this impending crisis. Despite this, Fianna Fáil will continue to raise this issue in the Dáil at every available opportunity,” concluded Deputy Calleary.