‘Landslide victims must be given an opportunity to access compensation’ – Harkin
“Farmers and landowners in the Drumkeerin area must be given an opportunity to access compensation by way of state aid,” according to independent TD Marian Harkin.
She called for “urgent” compensation for property owners affected by the landslide that occurred in Drumkeerin, by way of state aid under a ‘landslide damage relief measure’.
“It’s nearly four weeks since the bog slide occurred on Shaas mountain and a working group has been set up and met under the auspices of Minister Malcolm Noonan,” deputy Harkin said.
“However, works on stabilising the Dawn of Hope bridge and road clearances are ongoing.”
‘Farmers are in the dark’
She said that farmers are “still in the dark” when it comes to receiving supports.
It has left individual farmers still in the dark in regards to any state assistance to help compensate for the damage to lands, hay, silage, fences, livestock, as well as the ongoing loss of income due to the lands being unworkable.
Harkin pointed out that there was an EU regulation in place before which allowed “any member state to compensate its farmers where a crisis occurred”.
“The level of aid was up to €20,000 per farm and verified losses incurred could be paid under this scheme.”
This measure had been availed of in Ireland before, for past crises in the agri-sector, according to deputy Harkin.
‘Commit to exploring compensation’
She has called on Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary to “commit to exploring compensation as part of a package of measures”.
“Other essential items include ongoing support for Leitrim County Council in assessing all circumstances surrounding the bog slide, the carrying out of emergency work to stabilise the situation, the clean-up and restoration of land, drains, rivers as well the putting in place of preventative measures in case of a recurrence,” she said.
Harkin had previously emphasised the seriousness of the situation to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and the need to support Leitrim County Council in tackling the issues involved.
She told the Tánaiste:
People had suffered extensive damage to their land and property and, in some cases, had to leave their homes.
In his response, the Tánaiste said that while he had not heard about the mudslide, “as always, when a disaster occurs, the government will want to help and assist and will take an interest in it and see what we can do”.