Department’s assessment of storm’s impact: Structural damage and outages on farms

Detailing the initial impact on farming, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine updated cabinet colleagues today (October 17) on his department’s response to storm Ophelia.

“Our immediate priority remains safety and specifically reiterating the public message that dealing with fallen trees and debris should not be undertaken without specialist expertise,” Minister Creed said.

“I would like to remind everyone to remain vigilant and have due regard for personal safety and the safety of others during the clean-up period. Please don’t take risks and report any issues to the relevant authorities; particular care should be taken with fallen power lines.

“My department’s initial assessment of the impact on agriculture is of some structural damage caused by the high winds, flying debris and falling trees.

There are also reports of farms experiencing power outages.

With regard to forestry, department forestry inspectors are currently working together with Coillte to assess the impact on plantations around the country. Coillte has also advised that its forests and recreation facilities remained closed to the public today (October 17), to enable an assessment of the potential damage.

While fishing vessels had gone to harbour in advance of the storm, there are reports of some damage to harbour infrastructure.

A more comprehensive assessment is now being collated.

The department has been represented by senior officials at the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group (NECG) since it was convened on Sunday morning.

“My department officials and state agencies continue to monitor the situation on the ground to provide a fuller picture on the extent of the damage,” the minister added. “Further updates will be made available on my department’s website. The offices of my department all reopened to the public today.”

For animal welfare issues connected with severe weather, the minister is urging farmers to contact their Teagasc adviser or the department’s Animal Welfare Helpline on: 0761-064408 or: 01-6072379.