Agriculture Committee not set to meet until September

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been reprehended for purportedly “failing to grasp” the urgency of the fodder shortage.

This evening, Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, issued a statement expressing his disappointment that Minister Creed is not expected to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee until September 4.

The opposition TD said he has written to the chair of the committee requesting that the panel be recalled sooner than scheduled so that the minister could outline his plans to deal with the “impending fodder crisis”.

“I am extremely disappointed that the committee will not meet until next month, given the seriousness of the situation facing farmers.

“It is obvious that Minister Creed is completely out of touch with the reality on the ground and is failing to grasp the gravity of the cash flow issues facing farmers the length and breadth of this country,” said deputy McConalogue.

He claimed that there “appears to be no sense of urgency” on the part of the minister.

“This is exactly what happened last year; but farmers will not survive another harsh winter unless a plan is implemented in the coming weeks,” he said.

Jackie Cahill, Fianna Fail spokesperson on food and horticulture, added: “We have laid out a 12-point plan to avert the impending fodder crisis, which was published last month.

While the minister has adopted some of the measures, we need to see him embrace the plan as a whole if we are to prevent a repeat of last winter.

“This meeting needs to be brought forward. There is no time to waste. The minister must outline his plans so that they can be rolled out without delay,” concluded Cahill.

Extensions granted

Last weekend, Minister Creed announced an extension to the deadlines for the spreading of chemical and organic fertilisers in order to capitalise on autumn grass growth for fodder production.

The deadline for chemical fertiliser has been extended from mid September until the end of September, and the deadline for the application of organic manures from mid October to the end of October.

Speaking at the Tullamore Show last Sunday (August 12) the minister said: “The over-riding priority is to maximise fodder production from all available land. This is the most cost-effective approach and of greatest benefit to most farmers.”