Farmers in east Galway must be "adequately compensated" for the damage and loss of earnings they have suffered due to the winter floods, especially as their "livelihoods’ are in jeopardy", and many will not qualify for relief funding.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway East candidate, Cllr Anne Rabbitte, who said Government's initial €5 million relief package "falls far short of what’s needed", as relief funds are means-tested, meaning many farmers will not qualify. She also said the level of compensation is inadequate given how much farmland is "submerged underwater" and unworkable.
“Farmers are being expected to continue on as normal. This is simply not possible," she said. "They are not getting the financial assistance to get themselves back on track. The Government needs to ensure that the compensation funds are available to everyone impacted by the flooding."
As a result of the flooding, livestock has had to be moved either into sheds, or to higher ground, while other stock has been lost. In light of this, "many affected farmers will want to move their sheds to higher grounds", but there are planning regulation difficulties with this. Cllr Rabbitte is asking if farmers are expected to submit planning permission "to move the sheds on their land" or can an exemption be made for those impacted by the flooding in order to "speed up the process"?
Cllr Rabbitte said she is "gravely concerned" by what she described as the "lack of commitment" shown by the Office of Public Works to "resolving the problem". She went so far as to accuse the OPW of "only examining the situation in the towns" and "completely ignoring" rural areas.
With flooding is becoming "a more serious problem year on year", Cllr Rabbitte said those who have been affected over the past seven weeks must be "properly compensated", with "proper measures put in place" to guard against flooding.