Speaking from Co Galway where he visited farms affected by flooding, IFA President Tim Cullinan said the devastation caused by the extremely wet weather is an indictment of the authorities, right up to the top levels of Government.
“Farmers have to deal with flooded land and farmyards. In some cases, they have had to move livestock because their sheds are flooded,” he said.
“Farm families deserve better than this. Too many people in positions of authority have washed their hands of this issue. It seems that any level of flooding and disruption on farmland is considered acceptable, and there is no accountability,” he said.
Now we have some engineers and retired academics who want to create a river catchment that facilitates the flooding of farmland. IFA will oppose this cop-out tooth and nail.
“Any proposal that seeks to gloss over decades of mismanagement by drowning farmland will be resisted. Farmers will not become the fall guy for those who are unwilling to co-ordinate a proper river management plan.”
IFA Connacht Regional Chairman Pat Murphy has said the widespread flooding of farm land is putting a serious strain on farmers. He has put forward a number of actions to provide practical support to farmers:
- Implement the farmyard relocation scheme provided by the OPW and administered by the Dept of Agriculture
- Fast-track of relief works at pinch points, with increased funding
- Teagasc to set up clinics in the worst-affected areas that would identify farmers who need fodder and set up a scheme to deliver the fodder
- Support services to safeguard the mental health of those impacted by flooding
“These are the priorities at the moment to get us through this phase. In the longer term, the authorities have to identify a co-ordinated plan that avoids the severe disruption that farmers and householders have had to endure,” he said.