Inishowen Fianna Fáil Councillor Rena Donaghey has claimed there are 1,500 farmers in Donegal reliant on the Farm Assist payment “to make ends meet, particularly after the severe impact of the fodder crisis”.
Donegal Coounty Councillors voiced their support for the farming community at their meeting on Monday backing a motion brought by Colr Donaghey asking the government to reverse the payment cuts in this year’s budget, “as they did it at a time when farmers are most vulnerable and most reliant upon this payment”.
Cllr. Donaghey’s motion also calls on the government to base future farm assessments on a 10-year period and not solely the previous year. “That’s a very unfair assessment,” Cllr. Donaghey said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr. Patrick McGowan supported the motion, calling farming one of the sectors that probably helped the country in the last years. “The recession taught us one thing anyway, not to put all our eggs in one basket,” he said.
Fine Gael Cllr. John Ryan said farmers will confirm their fodder content is down this year.
“I think it is very important that we support our farmers, especially in this county.
“When small farmers make a few pound he spends a few pound,” Cllr. Ryan said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr. Liam Blaney, himself a farmer, called this, “one of the worst years in a long time for farming”.
He said any fodder supplies that were built up were totally depleted last year, leaving animals in sheds until June.
Independent Cllr. Michael McBride agreed, saying, this past spring, “probably was the worst year in 10 years”.Farmers were struggling.