More money on offer for farmers facing flooding

Farmers will be able to draw down more money if their land or farmyard is flooded under new criteria issued by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The criteria determines whether, and to what extent, projects will receive funding under the Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.

The new criteria has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) Flood Project Chairman, Padraic Joyce.

Joyce explained that the IFA had raised the issue some time ago and had presented detailed proposals at the end of last year to the then Minister for State at the OPW, Sean Canney.

Farmers and farmland had been discriminated against in the eligibility-benefit analysis because the calculation to determine whether funding was made available for flood defence works, or measures to alleviate flooding, did not account for the agricultural losses resulting from flooding, according to the IFA.

Under the new criteria, the figures for calculating the losses on a per hectare basis have been increased from a flat rate of €400 per hectare to a range from €623 to €1,474 – depending on where the land is located and related to the losses associated with flooding, it added.

Recognition for farmyards

In the old criteria there was no recognition of farmyards under threat or where they were flooded.

Farmyards will now be included in the same way as commercial premises at a rate of up to €30,000 where the farmyard is flooded, or up to €10,000 where the farmyard is under threat.

Joyce acknowledged the work that Canney did in his year-long tenure at the OPW. He added that the IFA looks forward to working with the new OPW Minister, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, to ensure the effective implementation of the scheme.

Local authorities who operate the scheme have been using the new criteria since June 1, 2017.

“It is important that minor works projects that have been turned down in the past are now reassessed based on the new criteria,” Joyce said.

“These areas should include areas adjacent to rivers subject to flooding, turloughs and coastal areas.”

Meanwhile, the revised criteria will also give local authorities the opportunity to revisit previous applications, which may not have qualified up until now, Minister Moran said.

“We all know that, sometimes, small works can reap important benefits for local communities and I look forward to the continued engagement of local authorities throughout the country with this valuable scheme,” he said.