Farm Ireland

Monday 21 January 2019

Creed calls on insurance companies to step up after snowstorm

Sheep Farmer Davy Leane, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, had brought his ewes to lower ground ahead of Storm Emma. Photo by Valerie O’Sullivan
Sheep Farmer Davy Leane, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, had brought his ewes to lower ground ahead of Storm Emma. Photo by Valerie O’Sullivan
Cattle look out from destroyed buildings on Karl Winters farm in Taghmon, Co. Wexford following destruction caused by Storm Emma. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farmers who suffered significant damage to polytunnels due to Storm Emma may be able to avail of a capital grants scheme to help ease losses.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said the harsh weather conditions had left a trail of destruction and the Department of Agriculture was focused both on the horticulture sector and damage to farm sheds.

However, the minister stressed he expected insurance companies to step up and pay out on claims, with farmers facing significant costs from the collapse of sheds, greenhouses shattered, polytunnels torn, burst water pipes, animal losses and damaged milking parlours.

Mr Creed pointed out the first port of call for farmers with collapsed sheds should be their insurer. However, he said the TAMS II capital grants scheme would prioritise those regions worst affected where there were applications for planning for new sheds.

“There are insurable and uninsurable losses and damage particularly in the areas of polytunnels for example and my Department is considering reopening a capital grants scheme that we have had to help these people get back on their feet,” he said, adding glasshouses were an insurable loss.

“I’m not going to step into the breach where insurance companies should be paying out,” he told Newstalk radio.

Mr Creed said FBD had already stressed it was anxious to be as helpful as possible and he urged the key players in the insurance market to get assessors on the ground as swiftly as possible.

“I think it is abundantly clear in the context of climate change we are facing into a time where we are going to get more extreme and volatile weather events like this,” he said.

Cabinet response to fodder crisis criticised by FF

The Government's response to the ongoing fodder crisis has been criticised by Fianna Fáil, which said farmers will face an even greater struggle to feed livestock after Storm Emma.

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue hit out at the Government's handling of the issue, saying attempts to transport fodder to parts of the country were not sufficient because more feed was needed.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed this week told Cabinet his department was in a position to provide assistance on animal welfare issues and continue efforts to address the fodder crisis, which has been ongoing since late last year.

Mr McConalogue said this was not good enough.

"People are struggling after this cold snap," he said.

"If he focused whatever support he was giving on grain-based feed, which isn't scarce, it would have made a lot more sense and it still makes sense."

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