The onus is now on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to act on today’s Dail decision and establish a crisis fund for grain farmers hit by inclement weather last autumn, Charlie McConalogue of Fianna Fail’s has said.

The Dail today carried a Fianna Fail motion by 87 votes to 49 to provide a fund or compensation scheme for those affected farmers who suffered severe crop losses due to the weather last harvest.

McConalogue, Fianna Fail’s Spokesperson on Agriculture, said that he welcomed the strong support in the Dail today.

“I’m now calling on the Government to recognise the decision of the Dail, that a fund is required.”

He also welcomed the Minister’s willingness to consider what a compensation scheme might look like.

“In principle the Minister is coming around to the idea. He now needs to follow through on how a scheme might be structured.”

McConalogue also welcomed the Minister saying that he would call a meeting of the tillage forum in the next two weeks.

Also commenting on the motion being carried today was Sinn Fein’s Martin Kenny. He said that now that the Dail passed the motion, the Minister must do something through the tillage forum.

“The hope would be that he would use it to produce some sort of compensation scheme. The pressure is on him now.”

‘Groundswell of support for tillage farmers’

Speaking following the motion today, IFA President Joe Healy said that following IFA’s protest outside the Dail yesterday, there is a groundswell of support for those tillage farmers who incurred significant weather losses during last year’s harvest.

Healy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to reconvene the National Tillage Forum as a matter of urgency to deal in the first place with the emergency aid issue.

The IFA President said that in his comments at the IFA AGM on Tuesday and in last night’s Dail debate, the Minister recognised the hardship involved and accepted the need for emergency aid and that he wished to progress the matter through the National Tillage Forum.

IFA has also requested the Minister to direct Teagasc to conduct its own assessment and verify the IFA’s results in order to clear the way for an early announcement on the emergency aid package.

Healy said the agenda for the Tillage Forum must also address the need to implement an action plan to tackle the serious and deepening income crisis affecting grain growers and the wider tillage sector.