Sperrins floods farmers have ‘strong sense of injustice’ over 2017 flood funding

West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has urged the Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to urgently conclude his deliberation on funding for farmers affected by landslides in the Sperrins in 2017.

Speaking during the Agriculture Minister’s most recent Assembly question time, McAleer asked for an update on potential support for the farmers who are still carrying the burden of the severe floods in August 2017.

The damage cost many farmers in the Glenelly Valley and other parts of the Sperrins tens of thousands of pounds to rectify.

Ministerial direction

Responding, Minister Poots said: “I recognise the desperately difficult circumstances that the people in Glenelly found themselves in as a consequence of the flooding that took place – the landslides that were involved the amount of damage to their land, the debris that had to be cleared with diggers, and fences taken out.

“I have spoken to my officials on the matter. As I have indicated before, I will have to take a ministerial direction on the matter, but I want officials to do as much work as possible so that, if I choose to go down the support route, the case will be as robust as we can make it.

Some support has been offered, but I understand that the farmers believe that there needs to be something which is of more significant is needed.

“We need to bring those deliberations to a conclusion one way or another.”

‘A strong sense of injustice’

McAleer concluded: “Whilst I am glad that the minister is still deliberating on the issue, I cannot emphasise strongly enough the depth of feeling of the farmers in this region.

“On that same night in August 2017, farmers in Inishowen were similarly affected by this extreme weather event, but they received their funding some years ago.

There is a strong sense of injustice that farmers in the Sperrins have not been compensated for their devastating losses.

“I encourage the minister to conclude his deliberations and to look in a positive light at supporting those farmers at the earliest opportunity.”