Floods and freezing weather to hit as farm crisis worsens

Kirsty Blake-Knox and Margaret Donnelly

Deluges of heavy rain across large parts of the country will bring flash flooding, waterlogged fields and burst river banks.

A desperately cold and wet spring has left farmers in most parts of the country short on fodder and facing severe forage problems.

Now Met Éireann has issued two separate status yellow weather rainfall warnings as eight counties face the threat of flooding.

The warnings remain in place until 3pm today and affect counties Kilkenny, Wexford, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry and Waterford.

Between 25mm and 30mm of rain is expected to fall in the eight counties overnight. Along the southern coast, rainfall is predicted to reach 50mm.

Met Éireann meteorologist Pat Clarke warned: “Coastal areas will be the worst hit. The sudden downpours could result in flash and spot flooding and cause rivers to rise and river banks to burst.”

It came as embattled Agriculture Minister Michael Creed performed a spectacular U-turn as he scrambled to respond to the fodder crisis by stumping up €1.5m to help import feed.

The move came just after he said it could still be sourced in Ireland.

Mr Creed has faced stinging criticism of his handling of the escalating crisis amid claims he has delayed taking action to address the problem.

He took further fire after he announced funding to import 20,000 tonnes of fodder after previously saying farmers could go online where “there is clearly an availability fodder in the country”.

Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue said: “The minister’s U-turn is very welcome.”

Online Editors