Farmers in Donegal need flood money ‘before Christmas’
Farmers who applied to the Department of Agriculture’s flood damage relief measure need to be paid the money from the scheme straight away, Minister of State with Responsibility for the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh has said.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio on Wednesday, Minister McHugh said that the decision was taken last week to agree to a scheme.
“The reason why the roll-out took a couple of days was that the Department [of Agriculture] and the minister [Creed] were very anxious to ensure that this was a very simplified process to ensure that farmers and those affected get money as soon as possible.
“We’re talking about 11 to 12 weeks to Christmas and we want to ensure that when people apply, that people and farmers who are in this very difficult position, as a result of the devastation in Donegal, are paid in a short time period.
“There’s money of up to €15,000 and it comes under the de minimis rule because of the scheme being introduced in a very short period of time.”
Under current EU guidelines, the maximum payment allowed per farmer is €15,000.
Minister McHugh said that farmers will suffer extra costs, given the damage to machinery and other infrastructure.
On the prospect of another fund, he said: “I won’t be creating any expectation around that but what I will continue to do is impress the fact that some farmers will not covered by this [current fund].
“I will continue the conversation with Minister Creed. I know arable crops can’t be measured at this early stage in terms of the damage done so I’ll certainly be continuing that conversation.”
Minister McHugh said he would not put a time on when the money would be out in days or weeks, but added it is important that the affected farmers get money.