Call for Louth farmers who lost sheep in 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak to get fair compensation

All farmers whose sheep were destroyed because of the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease should be entitled to the same compensation

Margaret RoddyThe Argus

The Government has been urged to consider a review of a compensation package for local farmers who had to cull their livestock as a result of the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

Louth Fianna Fail Senator Erin McGreehan told the Seanad that she found the issue upsetting to speak about 22 years on and spoke of the unimaginable upset and trauma it caused for affected farmers on the Cooley Peninsula.

"Farmers knew the cull had to happen. There was great cooperation given by farmers in the Cooley Peninsula at the time of the cull. There was a compensation package, but from very early on the Department will be very aware that the farmers affected were not satisfied with valuation.''

Senator McGreehan explained that some farmers decided to take a legal challenge against the Department of Agriculture and financial packages have been rightly paid out to those farmers.

She highlighted what she described as a most unsatisfactory two-tier compensation package, one for the farmers who took a legal challenge and another for those who didn't.

"The crux of the matter here is that each farming family made the same sacrifice, same losses, same trauma and they all cooperated with the cull. But some are now being treated differently.''

Senator McGreehan argued that those who lost everything, a way of life, livestock that took years, generations of hard work to create, must be adequately compensated for the losses they suffered.