Min­is­ter crit­i­cised for ‘hands-off ap­proach’

Wicklow People - - NEWS -

AS the fod­der cri­sis con­tin­ues across County Wick­low, lo­cal TD Pat Casey says that the Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Michael Creed con­tinue with a ‘hands-off ap­proach’.

The Fianna Fáil TD urged Min­is­ter Creed to take se­ri­ous ac­tion to tackle the cri­sis and says that his fail­ure to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion has had a di­rect im­pact on the se­vere con­di­tions af­fect­ing farms.

Deputy Casey said as Wick­low is not a strong dairy farm­ing county, lo­cal farm­ers will strug­gle to avail of the Fod­der Im­port Sub­sidy Scheme as it is con­fined to the Dairy Co-Op net­work, which is not strong in parts of the county.

‘In par­tic­u­lar, the Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to con­fine the sub­sidy to Dairy Co-Ops would dis­ad­van­tage those in the suck­ler and sheep farm­ing sec­tors that are also un­der mas­sive pres­sure to source scarce fod­der to man­age live­stock through the next few weeks. In spring 2013, all Co-Ops were el­i­gi­ble to avail of the sub­sidy scheme in­tro­duced to im­port fod­der and it makes no sense that Min­is­ter Creed would now ex­clude Mart Co-Ops and pri­vate feed mer­chants that are well placed to serve the needs of their lo­cal farm­ing com­mu­nity,’ said Deputy Casey.

He out­lined that now the cri­sis is at ‘emer­gency lev­els’, the Min­is­ter can­not con­tinue this ‘hands-off ap­proach’ and called on the Depart­ment to in­tro­duce a voucher scheme without de­lay.

‘Min­is­ter Creed needs to get on top of the sit­u­a­tion and en­sure that his Depart­ment be­gins co-or­di­nat­ing the trans­port and im­por­ta­tion of fod­der so that it gets to those who need it promptly. A fod­der voucher scheme must also be in­tro­duced so that farm­ers can re­ceive fi­nan­cial help to af­ford to buy the fod­der they need to get through the next few weeks. Many sim­ply don’t have the fi­nances af­ter an ex­cep­tion­ally long win­ter to meet the cost of buy­ing in ad­di­tional fod­der,’ he added.

Cat­tle farmer Sea­mus Killoran.

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