Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has criticised Minister Creed for failing the farming community and not taking sufficient action to tackle the on-going fodder crisis, which is spreading nationwide.
Deputy McConalogue, along with a number of his party colleagues, are raising the issue with the Minister in the Dáil this evening.
“Minister Creed has lost touch with hard pressed farmers.
“He has effectively switched off, judging by his comments earlier this week that it is the “individual responsibility” of each farmer to ensure there is enough fodder on farms. This is a shocking state of affairs and shows how out of touch Fine Gael is with rural Ireland.
“This government lacks empathy and has failed to grasp the severity of the situation of farmers who are struggling to survive as the cold wet weather continues unabated.
“We are almost into April now but poor soil conditions are preventing farmers from putting their cattle out to grass.
“The government’s transport subsidy scheme has been a gigantic failure with just 9 applications to date. The Minister totally misjudged the situation.
“From day 1, I have called for a meal voucher scheme to be set up for farmers affected.
“Teagasc has been advising farmers to prioritise the feeding of meal concentrates to plug the gap. As it’s a grain-basedd product, there is no shortage of supply and it would reduce the demand for fodder.
“However, the Minister’s short-sighted scheme completely ignored this, focusing solely on fodder transportation, therefore driving up the demand, and the price of hay and silage bales nationwide.
“Minister Creed must step up to the mark and realise that farmers are genuinely struggling.
“This government’s anti-rural attitude cannot be allowed to persist”.