Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

'We are humbled' - Consignment of silage arrives in Donegal to help flood affected farmers

Michael Gubbins from Crockhill, Buncrana lost 162 silage bales to the floods and has been forced to house his stock. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Michael Gubbins from Crockhill, Buncrana lost 162 silage bales to the floods and has been forced to house his stock. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Ciaran Moran and Claire Fox

A large consignment of silage has been transported from Navan to flood effected farmers on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal.

Intense rainfall on August 22 primarily affected the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal although it was a significant event in other parts of the county also.

Met Éireann recorded 8 cm of rainfall over a 24-hour period, the vast majority of that in a three to four-hour period on the Inishowen Peninsula.

Many in the farming community experienced loss of stock, and damage to land, farm equipment and crops.

The consignment of silage was been organised through Donegal IFA and in conjunction with Active Agri Association.

Also Read: 'The flooding did not discriminate against farmers, why does the Government?'

Up to four Articulated lorry loads made the journey to Donegal and the silage will be distributed to the farms around Inishowen in the coming days.

Francis Byrnes, Donegal IFA Environment Chairperson told Highland Radio that the support from farmers in Southern parts of the country has been greatly welcomed.

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"It is very welcome and humbling as well. Its nice to see that the farmers in the south of the country are still thinking of us up here.

"It's great to see communities and associations coming together. We are inundated with help from down the country and people have been really generous," he said.

THE 290 applications received by the Department of Agriculture from farmers applying to the Donegal Flood relief scheme shows the “level of devastation” that was caused by the torrential floods in August.

Applications for the scheme closed on Friday, September 29.

Speaking to the Farming Independent, Donegal Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue said that the high number of applications received by the Department is not surprising given the amount of damage and devastation caused by the flooding event.

“It shows the amount of devastation caused by the flooding and is in line with my expectations given the amount of intense meetings that were had by farmers and farming families in Donegal that had been impacted by the floods,”he said.

Mr McConalogue added that he hopes that payment of the compensation will come through promptly as it has been seven weeks since the floods occurred.

“It’s important that the compensation follows through and is carried out promptly. It’s been very slow-moving. It took the Department too long to confirm whether it would support farmers or not and it’s not good enough that we’re only at this stage,” he said.

The scheme does not currently incorporate damage to second-cut silage, lost potatoes or damage to roadways, but Mr McConalogue managed to pass a motion in the Dail last week to include these farmers in the scheme and hopes to see some action on it soon.

Henry O’Donnell of the INHFA said the amount of applications shows how significant the damage was to Donegal farms and said that the “devil will be in the detail” when it comes to how much money will be paid to farmers who applied to the fund.

“We still have no indications as to how much farmers will be paid,” he said.

According to Mr O’Donnell the inclement weather in Donegal has been almost continuous and that farmers are worried that another crisis is on the horizon.

“Most farmers are eating into their fodder as animals are housed. There’s still a lot of barley to be cut and there’s a shortage of straw as well,” he said.

“The danger is that farmers might use the compensation to mostly buy fodder instead of using it for vital repairs.”

The Department said that applications received under the measure will be “processed promptly”.

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