Creed re­jects fod­der crit­i­cism

■ Min­is­ter re­jects crit­i­cisms, saying ‘dy­namic’ sit­u­a­tion is be­ing tack­led

Irish Examiner - - News - Olivia Kelle­her and Elaine Lough­lin

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed has re­jected crit­i­cism of his de­part­ment’s re­sponse to the fod­der crisis, saying it will be tack­led.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed has strongly def ended the Govern­ment’ s han­dling of the fod­der crisis.

Speak­ing to farm­ers dur­ing a de­liv­ery of fod­der at the Dairy­gold Co-op branch in Mill­street, Co Cork, Mr Creed said every ef­fort was be­ing made to rem­edy the “dy­namic” and “chang­ing” sit­u­a­tion.

The min­is­ter has been crit­i­cised by farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions and op­po­si­tion par­ties who claim his De­part­ment had been warned of se­vere short­ages of fod­der across the coun­try for many weeks but failed to act un­til the last minute.

How­ever, Mr Creed said the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture had brought for­ward the date for the Sin­gle Farm Pay­ment in Oc­to­ber and made the max­i­mum pay­ment per­mit­ted at the time.

He also de­fended the de­ci­sion not to im­port fod­der ear­lier.

“If we had started im­port­ing at an ear­lier stage and we had got an early or a nor­mal spring?,” he said. “What we have been do­ing all along is deal­ing with a dy­namic sit­u­a­tion which is chang­ing on an al­most weekly ba­sis.

“We are work­ing with all of the stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the co-ops, Tea­gasc, in­di­vid­ual farm or­gan­i­sa­tions and tak­ing it as ap­pro­pri­ate at any given time.

“What we have an­nounced now is a fi­nan­cial pack­age un­til the end of the month. At the end of the month it will be re­viewed and we will con­tinue to sup­port the trans­port costs with the coops for as long as is nec­es­sary.”

Mr Creed said a sim­i­lar scheme rolled out in 2013 be­gan in April and con­tin­ued right through un­til June.

He said that, “if nec­es­sary, we will stick with it as long as that”.

Mean­while, Fianna Fáil agri­cul­ture spokesman Char­lie McCon­a­logue called for the Fod­der Im­port Sub­sidy Scheme to be made avail­able through all co-ops as well as pri­vate feed mer­chants.

“The scheme is in­ex­pli­ca­bly con­fined to the dairy coops and ex­cludes mart co-ops as well as pri­vate feed mer­chants,” he said.

“This means that many parts of the coun­try which do not have a strong dairy coop net­work will strug­gle to avail of fod­der through the scheme.

“In par­tic­u­lar, the min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to con­fine the sub­sidy to dairy co-op 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.”

He added that, in 2013, all co-ops were el­i­gi­ble to avail of the sub­sidy scheme in­tro­duced to im­port fod­der and claimed that it makes no sense that Mr Creed would now ex­clude mart co-ops and pri­vate feed mer­chants that are “well placed” to serve the needs of their lo­cal farm­ing com­mu­nity.

Pic­ture: Dan Line­han

The River Black­wa­ter bursts its banks in Mal­low, Co Cork, leav­ing the town park road flooded.

Pic­ture: Paul Mealey

Waves crash­ing over Roon­agh Pier, Co Mayo yes­ter­day.

Pic­ture: John De­lea

Ban­teer farmer Ed­die Taf­fee col­lects two bails for his 200 cat­tle.

Pic­ture: John De­lea

Cat­tle fod­der un­loaded at the Dairy­gold branch in Mill­street, Co Cork.

Pic­ture: Dan Line­han

A truck gets through the floods on the R579 near Muskerry Golf Club, Cork.

Pic­ture: John De­lea

The Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Michael Creed, meets Ban­teer farmer Tony Dun­lea.

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