Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue says Minister Michael Creed needs to take urgent action to tackle the serious fodder crisis affecting farmers across the country.  Deputy McConalogue says the Minister’s failure to address the situation has had a direct impact on the severe conditions affecting farms.

“Despite warnings from my party and farm organisations as far back as September last year, the Minister ignored farmers and failed to take any concrete action to address the situation.  As the bad weather continued through the winter, it increased pressure on fodder stocks as animals were being kept indoors and feed was being used up.  Now that the crisis has reached emergency levels, it is not acceptable for the Minister to continue with his hands-off approach”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“Even this morning on Morning Ireland the Minister seemed to contradict himself.  On the one hand he said there was enough fodder stock in the country, but then admitted that fodder may have to be imported.  The reality on the ground is that moves are already underway to bring in fodder from other countries – Dairygold is expecting its first delivery tomorrow.

“Minister Creed needs to get on top of the situation and ensure that his Department begins co-ordinating the transport and importation of fodder so that it gets to those who need it promptly.  A fodder voucher scheme must also be introduced so that farmers can receive financial help to afford to buy the fodder they need to get through the next few weeks.  Many simply don’t have the finances after an exceptionally long winter to meet the cost of buying in additional fodder.

“I have also contacted the Chairman of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee seeking an emergency meeting with Minister Creed so that he can outline a clear plan to deal with this crisis.  This situation was forecast more than 6 months ago, but as a result of the Minister’s refusal to act, we are now in an emergency situation.  Farms are under threat and the Minister has a responsibility to act”.