Dail motion calling for 'hardship fund' and meal voucher scheme passed
AN opposition motion has been passed in the Dail to deliver a ‘ hardship fund’ and meal voucher scheme to help smaller farmers severely impacted by the crisis.
The TDs voted in favour of the Fianna Fail motion by 86 votes to 50 to swiftly make available low-cost credit for farmers to help pay for the costs of sourcing fodder and concentrates and ensure scheme balancing payments are made to farmers.
Fianna Fail agriculture spokesman Charlie McConologue said the meal voucher scheme would help farmers “plug the fodder gap”.
The Government is not obliged to follow the motion. Mr McConologue said he hoped it would “send a signal” to ministers that swift decisions are needed to alleviate the fodder crisis.
Junior Agriculture Minister Andrew Doyle has said efforts were being made to ensure there are adequate fodder supplies going forward.
He insisted the Government had acted appropriately to the fodder crisis in a "targeted and appropriate way" in recent months.
"Notwithstanding this, Teagasc is being asked to prioritise fodder conservation for future winters in its farm advisory campaigns to ensure there are adequate stocks for next winter," said Mr Doyle.
"I am confident that the actions will ensure that farmers will be able to successfully plan more effectively for winters such as the one we have just witnessed."