The delay in compensation payment to Drumkeeran farmers who were affected by a landslide which impacted over 100ac of land in June of 2020 is 'unacceptable', said Deputy Marian Harkin in the Dáil this week.
She pressed the Taoiseach Michéal Martin to contact Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue in order that he would honour his commitment on compensation for farmers affected by the mudslide at Shass Mountain, Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim.
Farmland, forests and riverbanks were affected by the Shass Mountain landslide, which tore through the Drumkeeran region.
The farmers have lost patience and I don’t blame them
Deputy Harkin reminded the Taoiseach that the landslide occurred over two years ago and the promise of compensation was made eight months ago when Minister McConalogue visited Drumkeeran to meet the affected farmers.
She continued: “Since then, nothing, no offers, nothing, the farmers have lost patience and I don’t blame them, it's far too long," she said.
She asked the Taoiseach to raise this issue with Minister McConalogue and pressed him to make good on his promise of compensation in the immediate future, farmers cannot be expected to wait any longer.
Responding to Deputy Harkin, Minister Malcolm Noonan who chaired the inter-agency working group set up to manage the immediate impacts of the landslide, said: “I have engaged with Minister McConalogue this week in relation to the compensation issue and my understanding is there are negotiations with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to that.”
Minister Noonan also went on to say that he would convene another meeting of the interagency working group when he has some responses in regard to the issues I raised.
"While I fully appreciate Minister Noonan’s genuine efforts on the working group and the fact that up to this year Minister McConalogue has guaranteed CAP payments to affected farmers, nonetheless the current delays in finalising a compensation package for landowners whose land is destroyed and completely unusable are just not acceptable and immediate action is needed,” Deputy Harkin concluded.