Don’t get sucked into false sense of security, farmers warned

Ophelia Storm strikes in Baltimore, West Cork.
Photo. Emma Jervis Photography
Ophelia Storm strikes in Baltimore, West Cork. Photo. Emma Jervis Photography
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers have been warned not to get sucked into a false sense of security as storm Ophelia approaches the country.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1, ICMSA President John Comer said his organisation is hearing very different reports from members depending on what part of the country they are located.

While he said conditions are quite normal in Northern areas, farmers in the south are experiencing very rough conditions.

The main worry for farmers, particularly dairy farmers, is if the power goes.

“If the power goes milking in the evening will be a big issue. If it's out for 24 hours farmers will have to get a generator,” he said.

Comer highlighted that during the last major storm the availability of generators became a major problem and he stressed that most farmers do not have one.

He also said most farmers will also be debating whether to let livestock out or keep them in the shed.

“It’s had to know what to do. Many would say keeping them in is best but if the roof of the shed goes there could be huge damage,” he said.

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Ireland’s largest milk processor Glanbia has warned that the weather conditions may cause some disruption to milk collection in some areas over next 24 hours.

Farmers have been warned to ensure that any equipment they have is secured.

Coillte would like to remind the public to be vigilant for fallen trees and to contact emergency services if any roads or access routes are blocked by fallen trees.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has urged farmers, fishermen and people in rural areas to be extra vigilant and take precautions.

The Minister was speaking after the Committee on Emergency Planning meeting this morning at which his Department was represented.

Commenting the Minister said urged farmers and all people in rural areas to ensure that they are ready for the approaching storm and ask them to follow closely the advice of the authorities particularly for those in the worst affected Counties.

“Priority is obviously the safety of people and I would reiterate the advice that only essential travel should be taken. For farmers, they should ensure that their yards are secured by securing loose objects".

The Minister also reminded landowners of the dangers of fallen trees, in particular, the impact this can have on electric wires. The assessment of damage in such circumstances should only be carried by appropriately trained professionals from the electricity companies.

Shed doors should be securely fastened and older slat roof sheds avoided.

If you have to check on livestock, bring a family member or neighbour and in more exposed and remote areas, wait until the storm abates.

The Minister also asked people to check on elderly neighbours in rural areas and importantly avoid any risks.

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