Dept distributes flood aid
Average payments of more than €2,000 have been paid by the Department of Agriculture to farmers affected by severe flooding in December.
Department officials have confirmed that 286 valid applications were received for funding under the Aid Scheme for Damaged Fodder. Some €434,402 has already been paid out to 205 farmers, while the rest has yet to be paid.
The 81 remaining farmers will be visited by Department of Agriculture inspectors for assessment of damage and will be paid in the coming weeks.
Assuming the unpaid farmers will receive similar amounts, the final payout from the €2m fund is likely to be just over €600,000.
Some farmers in the flood-stricken areas have called for the fund to remain open until the full €2m allocation is spent.
Suckler farmer Eugene Shine, from the Clonown area near Athlone, insisted the outlook for farmers in the region was bleak. "There will be no spring around here until the end of April or early May, so from mid-February into March is when we will really be hit by a fodder shortage," he said.
Neighbouring farmer Paul Hannon predicted a fodder famine in February and March.