The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Tim Cullinan has today (Wednesday, December 29) visited farmland in Co. Wexford that has been devastated by flood waters.
Hundreds of acres of farmland remains under water, following unprecedented rainfall on Christmas Day.
Met Éireann had issued a Status Yellow Rainfall Warning for the county in advance, but locals have said the water levels that fell were of “biblical proportions”.
Flooding was reported in many parts of the county as early as 8:00a.m on Christmas morning.
Wexford County Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW) are continuing with flood relief efforts and are working to assess the damage caused to infrastructure.
Up to 20 bridges in the county have been swept away or damaged; many of the bridges were centuries old.
IFA president, Tim Cullinan has called for supports to be put in place for the farmers involved.
“Some farms have been severely impacted and there must be a comprehensive response from the relevant authorities. There are hundreds of acres of crops still under water.
“Storage tanks have also filled up. A common-sense approach to dealing with this will be needed.
“The clear message from people on the ground is that there needs to be proper maintenance of the local rivers,” he said.
“The locals are adamant that commitments were given in recent years by the OPW to tidy up the local rivers, but it was not done,” Cullinan added.
Wexford IFA chair, Jer O’Mahony told Agriland that four inches of rain fell within five hours at his farm in Wellingtonbridge on Christmas Day morning.
“I was out feeding cattle and I thought I was getting wet, but then all of a sudden it was like someone turned up the tap. It was absolutely horrendous, the rain was literally bouncing off the ground, it had nowhere to go.
“It’s something I have never seen before. Thankfully, I’m on the side of a hill, I had to put on the wet gear and go down to try and relieve water as my lane was getting washed away, but that is a small thing compared to what these people have to put up with,” he said.
The Wexford IFA chair estimated that around three quarters of the 1,000ac of winter barley planted in the area between Duncormick and Kilmore Quay, known as The Inis, is still under flood waters.
“The OPW pumps are flat to the mat since Christmas Day, but the water has to drain from the higher ground to lower ground before it can be pumped all the way to the sea.
“The water is still there. It is disheartening for people with rising fertiliser prices and everything else going on. They will have to let the land dry out and start again. It is devastating.”
Jer O’Mahony said the number of calls from farmers in Co. Galway and Co. Cork offering help was very humbling.
He also said Wexford County Council had been offering help to farmers, including moving slurry to other tanks, if needed.
He echoed the calls of the IFA president for supports for the farmers impacted by the flooding.