Emergency funding needed from EU solidarity fund
As Kerry farmers continue to struggle with the unprecedented fodder crisis, Kerry Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, has called for an immediate restoration of the fodder transport scheme, which ended last Friday.
Senator Daly has also called for Minster Simon Coveney to again apply for support from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), which has emergency funding available to assist regions that experience a disaster.
“Minister Coveney must immediately restore the fodder transport scheme, which ended last Friday,” said Senator Daly.
“The scheme was originally extended by 2 weeks with a promise by the Minister to review it on an on-going basis. If Minister Coveney paid a visit to the hundreds of farms in Kerry still under water, he would soon realise the fodder crisis is nowhere near an end.
“The weather in Kerry has not improved over the past number of weeks; farms are still flooded in many parts of the county, grass is not growing and silage is not being made.
“Fianna Fáil has raised this with the Minster continuously since March and so far his response has been completely underwhelming. Local co-ops and marts in Kerry that import fodder from the UK and France would tell the Minister that demand is exceeding supply. The plan to saturate the market with bales of hay has not worked; farmers in Kerry are only surviving on a week to week basis.
“Minister Coveney must insist that the EUSF caters for a prolonged crisis similar to what farmers have experienced in Kerry over the past 12 months. It has been a disaster for farmers and there needs to be adequate support provided.
“The Minister must also be proactive in ensuring there is some respite for farmers. The cuts to payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) should be reversed and also the cut to the Farm Assist payment is another area which the Government needs to review.”