On the announcement gy the Government that it is to establish a Fodder Action Group before Christmas, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said:
“The Minister for Agriculture is kicking this crisis down the road instead of recognising that farmers and animals will soon be in an extremely precarious position.
“Farmers in the North West simply do not have enough fodder to make it through the winter. A new Action Group is isn’t going to address this.
“All that will happen is that the Minister will geta few more weeks to stave off the demands of farming organisations. Meanwhile animal welfare declines and farmers go into debt.
“The actions this group have been tasked with are essentially the exact same actions that are already being undertaken by Teagasc and co-ops.
“Many co-ops have been holding clinics since mid-November to help farmers calculate their stocks. These same co-ops have been using these calculations to see how much straw will need to be sourced from abroad.
“However in order for farmers to be able to afford whatever is brought in, an Emergency Aid Package is needed.
“Teagasc has also already released figures showing that 90% of farmers in the North West are facing a serious fodder shortage. In fact some farmers have already used their entire stocks.
“What more information does the Minister need from some action group before he realises this problem?
“Not dealing with the problem now is reckless and potentially dangerous in terms of animal health.”