Farmers across Ireland were affected by Storm Ophelia and Storm Brian last month with many farmers in the south of the country left for up to a week without electricity.

Speaking in the Seanad, the Fine Gael senator from Cork Tim Lombard said: “Recent storm events, like those seen in October, have shown the need to include funding for generators as a measure in the TAMS II scheme.”

“Generator equipment is an absolute requirement for farms when or if there is an outage of power, particularly the dairy sector which relies on electricity to drive milking parlours and cooling equipment.”

“The dairy industry is essential to the Irish economy, with exports worth €3.38bn in 2016. The number of dairy cows has grown significantly over the past four years, driving expansion in both exports and the need for equipment to support this increase.”

“TAMS II has been a great asset in this growing sector,” Lombard concluded.

TAMS currently includes a number of items under the dairy equipment and farm safety equipment section, and it provides a 40% grant to farmers on investments of up to €80,000.

Farmer agreement

Waterford chair of the IFA, John Fitzgerald, agreed with Tim Lombard’s call for generators to be included in TAMS.

“I was asked to bring it up in my own county executive and I’d be fully supportive of generators being included in TAMS,” Fitzgerald said.

“I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t have one in the storm. There’s a huge expansion in dairying down here and people need to factor in that a generator is a must-have.”

“It should be the same as having a milk pump. The consequences of not having one are too high, it would be like not having insurance.”

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