Fodder crisis ‘not the time for playing politics’

During last night’s debate on the fodder crisis, it was outlined that now is not the time for “playing politics“.

The debate, which lasted for over two hours, featured TDs of various political persuasions from right across the country highlighting their own views on how the situation developed into a national fodder crisis.

A significant proportion of these TDs were heavily critical of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and how he responded to the situation as it evolved over time.

But, Labour TD Willie Penrose called on the elected representatives of the house to concentrate on adopting constructive policies to alleviate the pressures currently facing farmers trying to deal with a shortage of fodder.

I do not subscribe or participate in the debate pertaining to the lack of fodder in a political way. It is not the hour or time for political grandstanding or sound-biting.

“It is naive in the extreme to start apportioning political blame. All stakeholders must respond.

“The minister and Government clearly are important; but Teagasc, the co-ops, the agricultural merchants, the financial institutions, the major processors and farmers themselves all have a significant role to play.

“So let us stop pontificating for the sake of garnering public notice. It will not create one extra bit of meal or another bale of straw or silage or hay for the hard-pressed farmers,” deputy Penrose.

These sentiments were also shared by Fine Gael TD for Carlow–Kilkenny Pat Deering.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “There is no doubt that this has been a very difficult and harrowing winter and spring; every farmer in the country has experienced a lot of difficulties.

I think it’s a bit unfortunate that – to a certain extent – some political parties tend to play politics with this issue.

“In my opinion, playing politics with this issue will not put one bale of hay, straw or silage into the yard of a farmer; that’s a very important point,” he said.

Following the debate, it was decided that Fianna Fail’s motion on the fodder crisis – with certain amendments – would be put to a vote tomorrow (Thursday, April 19).