Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív has called for emergency measures to help farmers who are serious difficulty as a result of the unprecedented fodder crisis.
Raising the matter in the Dáil this week, Deputy Ó Cuív accused the Government of refusing to recognise the devastation in the farming sector caused by unseasonable weather over the past number of months.
“I have raised this issue a number of times with Minister Coveney and he has refused to acknowledge just how bad this situation has become. We are experiencing an unprecedented fodder crisis that is seriously damaging the farming sector here in Galway and across the West of Ireland,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“The heavy rain last summer and the bitterly cold temperature in March has devastated farming incomes. Silage is being sold at inflated prices, and I have spoken to many Galway farmers here who can no longer afford to feed their animals. The credit is just not available from banks, and bodies like Teagasc are inundated with calls for support. In many cases cattle are starving or dying. And there are farmers who are struggling to see a way forward for their business.
“It is disgraceful that Minister Coveney and his Government have refused to recognise what is happening. As long as they continue to bury their heads in the sand, this crisis will deepen and more farmers will be put out of business. The economy simply cannot afford this.
“I am calling on the Minister to establish a hardship fund to help farmers who are in immediate difficulty. I am also calling for a taskforce to be set up within the Department of Agriculture on a temporary basis to manage this crisis before it spirals out of control.”