The ICMSA President, John Comer, has criticised the slow progress being made in disbursing funds to people and businesses affected by the recent flooding and he said the inertia to blame simply had to be removed and a sense of urgency returned to the issue. Mr Comer said that over two weeks ago he had welcomed the decision to include farm family homes under the Humanitarian Aid Scheme as well as praising the response of Government that saw the establishment of both the Fodder Replacement and Hardship Recognition. It was very much to be regretted, said Mr Comer, that the impetus seemed to have disappeared now and persistent reports were emerging of inaction and delay particularly in relation to the Hardship Scheme.
“It might be understandable that as the floods recede that the urgency around this issue recedes as well, but that would be very unfortunate and compound the misery of the farmers and ordinary households who have been so badly hit by the recent floods. And it’s really up to the Ministers most directly responsible – Ministers Kelly and Coveney – to ensure that the monies are made available in a fair and speedy way and that the operation of the schemes is proactive with genuine claims being facilitated. Farmers have seen damage to yards, buildings, milking and storage facilities and we calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine to amend the TAMS farm grants scheme to include grant-aid for the provision of flood defences on vulnerable farms”, said Mr Comer.
The ICMSA President said it is now widely accepted that there are now many farmyards across particular parts of the country which remain at risk of future flooding. “The hardship that these farmers along with other rural dwellers had to endure in recent weeks was absolutely horrendous and the Government needs to put plans in place that will enable farmers to take measures to protect their farm buildings and livestock. Farmers are in a particularly vulnerable position in that they just can’t “up sticks” and carry on their livelihoods another location, so we’re going to have to look at measures that can help defend their farms against flooding – which is why we’d like to see flood defences being grant-aided under TAMS. Farmers cannot wait for the State to “get its house in order” on the question of a single waterways authority and though the number of farms concerned will be small overall there’s no question but that these families will have to be helped in the face of this ruinous and growing threat”, he said.
Ends 22 January 2016
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office