Donegal tillage farmers have reached crisis point, according to Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue, as further wet weather continues to delay the harvest in the county for the second year in a row.

Speaking outside Dáil Éireann on Tuesday, he said that unless there are a few days of dry weather, farmers in the county will be in the same situation they were in this time last year.

“Time is fast running out [for the harvest] in relation to Donegal and a few other western counties. It’s something we’re very closely monitoring.”

McConalogue said that he has called for the Government to put in place an ongoing support mechanism under the Rural Development Programme for farmers affected by adverse weather conditions, such as those experienced last year with the grain and tillage losses.

On Tuesday night, Fianna Fáil will use its private members’ time in the Dáil to call on the Government to do more to address the effect of flooding in Donegal and national flooding issues.

“Our motion tonight calls on the Government to amend the RDP to put in place such a fund.

“We saw last year that it took over a year to get funding to those who lost their crops and that’s something unacceptable for people who have experienced those losses.”

Payment delays

Five weeks on from the flooding that devastated farmers in the north and northwest, Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue has expressed concern that there will be a delay in the money being rolled out under the flood relief measure.

McConalogue said that a delay in the funding being rolled out would “certainly be consistent with the delays [that have been] seen up until now”.

There have been very significant delays already and the closing date is this Friday (29 September) for the farming community to apply for the 2017 Flood Damage Relief Measure, he said.

“It’s five weeks today since the floods happened. As part of that, land was flooded, there was rubble on the land, people lost crops, people lost stock and there was damage to buildings as well.

“Really, if there had been quicker action and it hadn’t taken three weeks to confirm the funding was going to become available, people would have that support now.

“So I am concerned that there will be further delays to that funding being rolled out.”

The Fianna Fáil TD said that the party is hoping that by bringing a motion through Private Members’ Business in the Dáil on Tuesday night that it will put pressure on the Government and that it does follow through quickly on getting payments out.

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