Creed hits out at rural TD’s fodder figures allegation

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has hit out at independent TD Mattie McGrath for questioning the veracity of national fodder deficit figures.

During an exchange yesterday (Thursday, October 12) in the Dail, Minister Creed outlined the measures he has put in place in an effort to deal with the fodder shortages.

Earlier this year, a national fodder census carried out by Teagasc estimated that the national fodder deficit stood at in excess of 20%.

The most recent census, carried out in September, indicated that national fodder deficit had dropped to three million tonnes or an average farm deficit of 11%.

However, deputy McGrath argued that the “reality on the ground is somewhat different” and he stated that there has been “inaction throughout spring and summer”.

Minister Creed criticised the Tipperary TD for not making “a single positive suggestion, which is a continuation of a theme“.

“All the initiatives deputy McGrath denigrates, which have achieved substantial progress for farmers, came from the stakeholder forum. In denigrating the things we have delivered, he denigrates all the stakeholders as well,” the minister said.

‘Very different situation on the ground’

Deputy McGrath criticised the minister for his slowness to take action and stated that parts of Co. Tipperary were totally burnt up during the drought.

Commenting on the fodder figures, he said: “I would love to know what inducements he is giving to stakeholders to come up with the figures he has given us.

“The situation on the ground is very different and many farmers have huge issues with not having enough fodder and no way of getting funding.

The west has not been badly affected and it may be possible to get fodder from there, in a reversal of what normally happens. The Minister’s inaction is disgraceful and whoever is manipulating them for him, his figures are not real.

‘Cheap headline’

Taking exception to the comments, Minister Creed called on the independent to “reflect seriously” on the accusation he has made against Teagasc to the effect that it has manipulated figures.

“It conducted a national fodder survey, the veracity of which has been accepted by all stakeholders. I accept that within the national deficit of 11%, there are individual holdings where it is higher.

“The best outcome from the stakeholder forum was the advice from the advisory services, namely, Teagasc, private advisers or co-operatives. The deputy should reflect on his charge that a state organisation has manipulated figures,” he said.

Concluding, Minister Creed accused deputy McGrath of “seeking a cheap headline” with his comments.