Fianna Fáil Councillor Councillor, John Paul Feeley condemned the announcement of funding by Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Agriculture that funding of € 1 million to the Dairy Co-Ops to assist in the cost of transporting fodder from abroad as paltry and ineffective.
‘I sincerely hope that the weather changes significantly to increase grass growth because clearly farmers will have to rely more on mother nature than on this Government to deal with the fodder crisis. It was with great reluctance that Minster Coveney and this Fine Gael/Labour Government admitted the problem. We now have an announcement of a total of € 1 million to be spent through Diary Co-operatives. It is a paltry sum when faced with a national crisis.’
Noting that the limited funding would be administered through Diary Co-Ops the Cavan County Councillor noted the vast majority of farmers in the region have no relationship or contact with a dairy co-op.
‘Minster Coveney’s proposal is too little too late. It is not realistic. Many farmers deal with local agricultural supplies and millers directly. They do not have any dealings with co-operatives. This mechanism is typical of a Minister who has no real understanding of the predicament of farmers in the West of Ireland and across this region. I urge the Minister, this Government and the Fine Gael public representative in this region to take urgent action. Minister Coveney has a template in the Department used to provide targeted support for struggling farmers in 1998 when then Minister, Joe Walshe put in place a Fodder Scheme to address a similar crisis at that time.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that farmers in this region are abandoned by a Government lacking political will, understanding and competence to deal with this crisis.