Department told crisis was looming ‘weeks ago’
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.