‘Knee-jerk reactions to extreme weather events are totally unacceptable’

Knee-jerk reactions to extreme weather events are “totally unacceptable“, according to independent TD Sean Canney.

Reacting to the meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee meeting yesterday evening (Tuesday, September 4), the Galway East TD welcomed the confirmation by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, that the potential for an insurance scheme relating to extreme weather events was being examined.

The minister explained that Ireland is one of the few member states that doesn’t have an insurance-based model for dealing with issues that arise in the agricultural sector in the wake of an extreme weather event.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister Creed added: “Given the frequency with which events like this are occurring, it is certainly something that should be actively looked at.

We are looking at it in the department in the context of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.

In recent years, Irish agriculture has had to deal with challenges arising from: flooding; snow; freezing temperatures; prolonged spells of rain; and drought conditions.

Deputy Canney believes that, to date, the Irish Government’s response has been “knee-jerk”.

“This is totally unacceptable in an industry where the weather has a serious impact on the viability of farming.

Weather events also cause severe stress for farmers and their families. It is vital that we put in place a mechanism to give security to farmers so that they can be safe in the knowledge that there is a plan in place with funding to back it.

While the independent TD welcomed the various measures announced by the minister in recent weeks, he believes that the Irish Government needs to “pre-plan for these extreme events, which are occurring on a more regular basis“.