Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue TD has said that there is no excuse for the chaotic response demonstrated this week by the Government and Minister Michael Creed to the ongoing Fodder Crisis.
McConalogue said, “It is unacceptable that it took until this afternoon for the Minister to provide details of the Fodder Import Support Scheme despite the fact that the Government had been consistently warned for months of the impending crisis in fodder supply.
“All week long we have witnessed confusion reign due to the unclear nature of the support scheme which the Government announced would be made available to assist the importation of fodder from abroad.
“When the announcement was made yesterday, it was confined to Dairy Co-Ops meaning that many farmers struggling nationwide would have been forgotten about. Both the Suckler beef and sheep sectors in particular would have had limited access, if any, to the scheme.
“Thankfully, on the foot of our party’s calls the Minister has made the belated move today to expand eligibility of the scheme to all Co-Ops and commercial feed merchants.
“It is also welcome this afternoon that application forms were finally made available for participating co-ops and feed merchants so that they can now apply for the funding necessary to transport fodder into the country.
“This will hopefully ensure that there are no further delays in getting much needed fodder supplies into farmyards throughout the country.
He added, “Fianna Fáil have been warning the Minister since last September of the need for contingency plans to be prepared in the event of a late spring. Our special Dáil debates on the issue, as recently as last week, fell on deaf ears.
“This Ministerial inaction on the fodder shortage meant there were no contingency plans in place and instead led the country having to scramble to get necessary supports in place.
“It is crucial now that we all work together to ensure that support is delivered to farmers and that fodder supplies can be brought into the country in the quantities required to help farmers feed their stock over the coming few weeks.
“From here, Government need to act on the requests of national farming organisations to put in place financial measures to guide farmers through the next number of weeks, “concluded Deputy McConalogue.