ICMSA cite 2009 EU weather related assistance and call for Government to ask for aid
The ICMSA President, John Comer, has said that a precedent does exist for the EU to provide assistance where extremes of weather have seriously damaged farmers’ income and he is calling on Minister Coveney to repeat the request for EU assistance made successfully in 2009 “Practically every part of the country has experienced record rainfall levels this summer and the trend has continued into August. The resulting problems on farms are growing by the day and the losses at this stage are almost impossible to quantify and will certainly continue well into next year”, stated Mr Comer.
He went on to say that the losses are now running into hundreds of million euros and the problem is being exacerbated by the increase in concentrate feed costs and reduced output prices at the worst possible time for farmers. “It’s quite clear that all farmers throughout the country are being affected to some degree, but individual farmers all over the country are being particularly badly hit. Many individuals have all or some of their first cut silage to complete and they’re eating into existing fodder stocks at a rapid rate. All these problems are building up and are leading to all kinds of stress for many farmers”, continued Mr Comer.
“The Government has targeted the Agri-Food sector as a growth industry under Food Harvest 2020 with the ambition to increase considerably net foreign earnings for the Irish economy. The positive role of the Agri-Food sector in 2011 is there for all to see but serious difficulties are now facing individual farmers and it is essential that the Government recognise this and take measures to support them during this difficult period. Farmers will deliver for the country over time but the Government must play its role during difficult periods like that we are presently experiencing.”
“Given the extraordinary weather experienced since the end of May and the massive problems associated with it, the Government should consider an application under the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to those most in need and to avert or minimise the kinds of problems that could arise over the coming months. When the flooding occurred in 2009, Ireland secured over €13m and while the rules of the Fund may be restrictive, the Irish application in 2009 was examined under the ‘exceptional criteria for extraordinary regional disasters’ – the same should apply at present because we are dealing with an extraordinary event at the present time. Rainfall levels nearly three times the normal levels surely represents an extraordinary event” concluded Mr. Comer, who urged Minister Coveney and his officials to look at the possibility of applying under the same criteria.
Ends 21 August 2012.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office