Farmers and Rural Communities Working to Deal with Extended Spell of Severe Weather

IFA President John Bryan said farmers, local communities and Government agencies are continuing to work together to reduce the impact of the freezing weather across rural Ireland. He said, “farmers continue to use their machinery to grit roads which is improving conditions for people living off the main roads.”

Farm families are currently enduring much tougher winter conditions than usual, which has resulted in burst water pipes, some snow drifts causing problems for livestock and concerns about shed roofs coming under pressure from the weight of snow. However, “there has been a very good response to the difficulties, with neighbours looking out for each other and offering help where it is needed.”

John Bryan said, “many dairy farmers are having to use mobile tankers to get milk delivered to bulk carriers at designated collection points on the main roads, ensuring regular supplies of fresh milk to consumers are maintained. Co-ops and merchants are travelling with difficulty to get meal and other supplies to farms.”

IFA’s Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Pat Farrell said “Freezing weather conditions such as these are not a once off event and are a repeat of weather experienced earlier this year. The Committee is currently developing a rural response strategy which will be presented to Government, Local Authorities and the Inter-Agency Group on Severe Weather. It is essential that much greater co-ordination and collaboration takes place by Government agencies and local authorities with farmers and local communities.”

“Farmers have the equipment and machinery to keep rural Ireland moving during severe weather conditions. Government should tap into this resource by providing financial assistance for snow ploughs, making grit and salt available on request and enlisting the services of farmers on a stand-by basis, where their experience in handling machinery can be used where required.”

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