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Thursday 24 May 2018

'You don’t know what you’re talking about': Minister hits back at criticism of fodder crisis response

Minsiter for State Andrew Doyle on his farm on Wicklow. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Minsiter for State Andrew Doyle on his farm on Wicklow. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Minister of State Andrew Doyle
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle has hit back at criticism of the Government’s response to the fodder crisis in the Dail today.

The Wicklow TD slammed attacks by opposition TDs in the Dail, telling a number of them they “don’t know what they're talking about”.

Minsiter Doyle said he was an active farmer and that he is also currently purchasing fodder at the moment on his farm in the uplands of Wicklow.

“It is not fair to say nothing has been done. There has been a number of incentives.

“I know what’s going on on the ground as much as any of the people that have spoken. More than most of you.

“If anybody says they could have predicted what the weather was going to be like in April and that we were going to have a late spring last October, they're in the wrong business.

“We have introduced a fodder import subsidy and a fodder transport subsidy and there always has been a welfare scheme. There is a welfare helpline where people in dire need for fodder can get it regardless.

“There is fodder in this country still being moved. What is being assisted is the cost of that transport,” he said.

It comes as Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said Fianna Fáil will bringing forward motions in the Dáil and the Seanad calling for the Government to take immediate action to remedy the situation.

“What was a fodder shortage has become a fodder crisis. Since last September, Fianna Fáil has consistently called on the Government to tackle the escalating fodder shortages throughout the country”, said Deputy McConalogue. 

“However, as a result of the Minister’s failure to acknowledge the emerging issues and engage with farmers, the situation has now become a national emergency, which is putting a huge strain on farmers’ mental health and is creating animal welfare issues.

Fianna Fáil has called for a meal voucher scheme to be set up for affected farmers to help them plug the fodder gap.

Its motion also calls on the Government to immediately pay outstanding 2017 balancing payments for GLAS and the Sheep Welfare Schemes to ease the cash flow difficulties that farmers are facing.

It also says a low-cost loan scheme for farmers announced last October also needs to be opened.

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