Denis Naughten TD has called on the Government to provide financial assistance to farmers who have lost fodder as a result of the recent flooding. He has also requested that a grant scheme for homes and communities outside the main towns also be put in place.
Speaking in the Dáil last night, Denis Naughten pointed out that the Taoiseach had acknowledged farming is a business, yet farmers are excluded from the current financial aid.
He told the Dáil: “While this not an issue now, the unavailability of fodder in the early part of next year will be an animal welfare issue. Financial provision needs to be made for farmers who have lost fodder as a result of the recent flooding”.
He went on to call for the TAMS II criteria to be reviewed to allow for grant aid for flood defences for farm buildings and that the home renovation incentive scheme be extended to include works to protect homes and septic tanks which are prone to flooding.
Denis Naughten went on to say that there are many houses outside the planned flood mitigation areas and a specific grant scheme needs to be made available to families where practical solutions can be put in place to protect their homes.
Responding to Denis Naughten, Minister Paul Kehoe stated that he would take the matters up directly with the Agriculture Minister and that in the meantime farmers in flooded areas can make contact with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine animal welfare helpline at Callsave 076 1064408 or 01 6072379 or Teagasc at 076 1113555.
Extracts from debate:
^^ Flood Relief Schemes Applications ^^
Deputy Denis Naughten: The Taoiseach said earlier in the House that farming is a business but it is specifically excluded from the Irish Red Cross Society administered scheme. A considerable amount of fodder has been damaged and destroyed. While this not an issue now the unavailability of fodder in the early part of next year will be an animal welfare issue. Financial provision needs to be made for farmers that have lost fodder as a result of the recent flooding.
Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The emergency scheme does not apply to farmers. Farmers in flooded areas can make contact with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine animal welfare helpline at Callsave 076 1064408or 01 6072379 or Teagasc at 076 1113555. I will bring the Deputy’s concerns regarding farmers to the attention of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, who is unavailable today.
I have no doubt that the farming organisations, whether the IFA, ICMSA, ICSA Ireland or others, will be involved in ensuring there are no feed shortages. One has to applaud the IFA. In 2009, it stepped up to the mark and helped out all farmers on an individual basis by getting fodder from other parts of the country and bringing it to flood-risk areas. I have no doubt farmers will not be left wanting when they have the likes of the IFA and other such organisations at their disposal.
Deputy Denis Naughten: One would nearly think I was pre-empting a flood when, on 1 December, I asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he would extend the TAMS II programme to allow for grant aid for flood defences for farm buildings to be put in place. The Minister said, “No” at the time. Will the Minister of State take the issue up with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and ask him to extend the criteria relating to it?
While I am on the issue of flood prevention, I will raise a matter with the two Ministers of State present. It would help if the criteria for the home renovation incentive scheme were amended to deal with the issue of flood prevention in domestic situations. I earnestly ask both Ministers of State to examine if we can put a small, tight grant aid scheme in place for households outside the flood mitigation areas. Provision will not be made for them under that scheme. I ask that they would have access to financial assistance where practical solutions can be put in place to protect their homes.
I am disappointed with the Minister of State’s response that there is no specific provision for the agriculture industry but thank him for his commitment to take it up with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Deputy Paul Kehoe: I will communicate Deputy Naughten’s concerns to the Minister, Deputy Coveney, and ask him to reconsider the request made earlier this month.
Denis Naughten TD