Fianna Fáil calls for further government action on fodder crisis
FARMERS urgently need a dedicated unit to be established within the Department of Agriculture to coordinate a proper response to the ongoing fodder crisis. That is the view of Fianna Fáil members of the Dáil who this week will debate a motion criticising Government’s ‘slow and inadequate response to a crisis’ which they say has devastated hundreds of farmers across the west.
“My colleagues and I spent weeks in the early stages of this crisis appealing to the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to see what was going on, and take decisive action to prevent unnecessary hardship for families. Unfortunately, it took several weeks for the Minister to admit there even was a problem, and since then the response has been too little too late,” Deputy Dara Calleary said.
He said his party was now calling on the Department of Agriculture and financial institutions to ensure there is an adequate supply of credit for stricken farmers.
“This week in the Dáil, TDs will be given a chance to vote on our proposals aimed at ensuring that farmers here in Mayo and across the country do not continue to suffer undue hardship as a result of this and that this is never allowed to happen again,” Mr Calleary added.
He also welcomed the support of both co-ops and farming organisations who, he said, have been ‘helping many farmers to feed their cattle when they may otherwise have been unable to’.
MEANWHILE, in a major logistical exercise, Connacht Gold has imported 50 loads of hay and haylage from all over Great Britain over the last week. The fodder is being distributed to farmers throughout the province, as well as in Counties Donegal, Longford and Westmeath. The price of the fodder, which was sold to farmers at cost price, was significantly reduced by the special fund established by Minister Coveney. He has announced an extension to the fund until Friday next, May 10.
Moreover, Super-Valu, has revealed it will establish a €250,000 fund, with Kepak and Oliver Carty Ltd, for Irish farmers to purchase fodder. The fund will be administered by the IFA (Irish Farmers Association), in association with the Department of Agriculture.
“As the number one supporter of Irish food producers and the farming industry, we are keenly aware of the difficulties currently facing Irish farmers all over the country. Our business is heavily reliant upon the Irish agri-food sector and we recognise we have a responsibility to our suppliers and the farming community as a whole. We along with our partners, Kepak and Ted Carty Ltd. are committed to protecting Irish farming and Irish farm families, through this current crisis,” said Martin Kelleher, MD of Super-Valu.
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