Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has urged Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to put urgent funding in place to support farmers affected by summer flooding of the River Shannon.
Kerrane made her appeal following a meeting with the Save Our Shannon organisation and local farmers affected by flooding in the Athlone area.
“The lack of a single authority to manage and be responsible for the River Shannon is of course the bigger issue here and compensation is only one part of a much bigger and long overdue solution,” she said.
“I am separately seeking an update from Minister Patrick O’Donovan (with responsibility for the OPW) on the legislation he promised to bring forward to establish such an authority, following Sinn Féin’s own legislation which I introduced along with party colleagues after my election in 2020. The Government blocked this legislation from proceeding in order to do introduce their own and yet we are still waiting”.
The Sinn Féin TD said that in the meantime farmers were still suffering through no fault of their own.
“The impact of this is massive. Farmers have tens of acres of lands under water (some I have met have over 80 acres). They have been unable to cut meadow and have therefore not been able to save fodder for the winter. They have lost out financially as a result some to the tune of up to €30,000,” she said.
“Some of these farmers are leasing lands which are flooded and they have to pay their rent regardless. They will have to purchase fodder this winter at increased cost, should they actually be able to get it in the first place.
“Many farmers put cattle out on June 1st and by the first week in July, the cattle had to be taken off the lands again”.
Deputy Kerrane appealed to the Minister to put urgent funding in place and said she would continue to raise the issue until action is taken.
“These farmers have young families, children going to college, mortgages, and they are under huge financial pressure through no fault of their own. They are in a desperate situation and I am appealing to you to act to support them,” she said.