Where are the hardship payments for Farmers?

16 04 2013

Sheep at Torr

Joe Byrne SDLP MLA and Vice Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, has asked DARD why no hardship cash payments have yet been paid to farmers badly affected at a meeting of the Agricultural Committee today.

Senior officials at today’s meeting outlined how the fallen animals’ collection of dead sheep and cattle as a result of the recent snow storm has been progressing. Over 20,000 sheep and 700 cattle have been collected. The two rendering companies designated by DARD have been doing the collection at farms as requested through the DARD helpline system.

Joe Byrne said ‘Farmers who have suffered the losses of dead sheep and cattle in the affected areas have still received no hardship cash payments. I am astounded that DARD has not yet made a minimum threshold cash aid payment to those who have registered with DARD.

“Many of these farmers are in severe financial difficulties with restricted banking facilities. They need help now, and I am calling on the DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill to make immediate cash payments to those farmers in immediate need. She needs cut through bureaucratic red tape until the final compensation losses can be assessed.

‘Finally there has to be a greater urgency to bring immediate relief to those farmers who are suffering badly.’’