Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Claire Kerrane TD has said that the Government’s response to the continuing pressure farmers are under as a result of the weather is not good enough.

Continued heavy rainfall has further delayed turnout of livestock and planting.

Deputy Kerrane described the Government’s response to the challenging weather as “seriously lacking”.

“Farmers and farm organisations have made clear the strain the situation is causing farmers and they have outlined the need for support.

“This is a situation that is affecting farmers across the board - it is not confined to one sector, so clearly a comprehensive response is needed.”

More measures

She welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to delay farm inspections, but she says “more measures must be outlined without delay - what has been announced so far is just not good enough in terms of providing some relief to farmers at this time".

“For example, I understand it was suggested by farmers at the National Fodder and Food Security Committee two weeks ago that farmers be allowed to feed meal and silage on hills and special areas of conservation, as much of this is dry land at the moment and doing so is less likely to affect scores or delay payments.

“While that will not be the only measure that is needed at the moment, it is the kind of solution that must be considered by the Minister and his Department as part of a joined-up response to the challenges facing farmers.”

Deputy Kerrane continued: “It is unfair to keep farmers waiting for supports, particularly when so many are under real pressure and when they need those supports now.

“I have called on the Government to outline their response and they must provide that clarification urgently,” she concluded.