Extreme flooding of swathes of land in Co. Roscommon has caused a “crisis” for farmers, with one farmer having €7,500 worth of fodder destroyed. Thousands of acres are submerged in water. The Roscommon chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association, John Hanley, said that Clonown, south Roscommon, was worst-hit, but that Cootehall, Arigna and Keadue in the north of the county were also in trouble.
“It’s a crisis – that’s what it is,” said Mr Hanley, noting that farmers had also been severely affected in the 2009 flood. This is the second so-called 100-year flood in six years.”
He said that animal welfare was the main problem for farmers at the moment, but that other aspects were also hit.
“It is the fodder that is under water as well,” he said. “There is one particular farmer in Clonown and he has 250 bales of hay in a shed and there for four foot of water around it. They are gone – finished.”
Each bale would be worth roughly €30.
“Another major issue is tanks and sheds that are flooded with water, and farmers moving stock to other ground,” said Mr Hanley.
He also said that many people had significant amounts of fuel, such as turf, destroyed after their sheds had become submerged.
Local councillor Laurence Fallon, a farmer based at Rahara in south Roscommon, agreed that things looked very bleak. He said that the flood had resulted in a “very significant cost to farmers”.
“There is a substantial amount of fodder between here and Shannonbridge that has been damaged by flooding,” he said.
“There is a lot of land under water that normally might be grazing sheep at this time, and that is not available either.”
Mr Hanley was scathingly critical of the Government’s response to the “crisis”, in particular Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
“He has two briefs: defence and agriculture,” he said. “And I think it is about time that he started defending the farmers. He hasn’t once mentioned agriculture in any of his statements.
“As Minister for Agriculture, he should make sure there is a fodder fund and crisis fund available for farmers that are affected by the floods.”