Depart­ment told cri­sis was loom­ing ‘weeks ago’

Wicklow People - - NEWS -

THE chair of Wick­low ICMSA has said that it is false to sug­gest that the fod­der cri­sis has come ‘out of the blue’ when the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Food and the Ma­rine was warned of the po­ten­tial dis­as­ter for farm­ers weeks ago.

Ac­cord­ing to Shane O’Lough­lin from Augh­rim, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Food and the Ma­rine had been told over four weeks ago that un­less there was a mea­sur­able im­prove­ment in the weather, that per­mit­ted cows to be put out on grass on or around St Pa­trick’s Day, plans would have to be drawn up im­me­di­ately to fa­cil­i­tate the im­por­ta­tion and trans­porta­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate amounts of fod­der.

Mr O’Lough­lin said that the sit­u­a­tion has not been helped by what he de­scribed as the ‘hope­less in­ad­e­quacy’ of the fod­der scheme rolled out ear­lier in the year which, he be­lieves, has ‘ob­vi­ous de­fects’.

He said that these too have been re­peat­edly flagged to the Depart­ment and to the Min­is­ter.

‘The point for all to grasp, is that we have to start from where we are now and it was not too late for some mean­ing­ful sig­nal from the Gov­ern­ment that they un­der­stood the scale of the chal­lenge loom­ing in some of the coun­try’s most im­por­tant farm­ing and food pro­duc­tion ar­eas and the speed with which the cri­sis is de­vel­op­ing,’ Mr O’Lough­lin said.

Cllr Jim Rut­tle on his farm in Manor Kil­bride.

Shane O’Lough­lin on his farm in Aughrim.

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