Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has been accused of having a ‘complete lack of empathy’ for farmers who suffered significant crop damage as a result of the winter floods.
Parts of South Galway have been under water for months and Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway East Cllr Anne Rabbitte is unhappy that there is no compensation available for the affected farmers. “Since the closing date for applications to Flood Damage Relief Measure scheme, I have had a lot of farmers contacting my office to enquire if the scheme covers damage to crops. I have since been informed by our spokesperson on community affairs Bobby Aylward that crop losses are not eligible under any of the schemes the Department rolled out following the shocking floods this winter. This is an unbelievable situation.”
Councillor Rabbitte says the failure by the Minister to recognise the obvious need for assistance for the many farmers across south Galway who grow crops over the winter is further evidence of his clear disconnection with the realities of the struggles of the farming family. “The production of such crops as winter barley, oats and wheat are a crucial source of income for many farmers and the fact that no compensation for their losses exists has angered many. It has already been a rough start to the year for farmers in south Galway as we experience exorbitant delays in basic payments and the ongoing beef price scandal. I have spoken to a number of farmers in recent days and the overwhelming feelings are of concern and anxiety following the Minster’s failure to address key issues.”
The Portumna based representative said rural Ireland and farming in particular was becoming a key issue in the upcoming election. She claimed the Government’s record on protecting small family farmers and their livelihoods was ‘abysmal’.