Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the current fodder crisis is typical of the Government’s attitude to rural Ireland.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking as farmers warned that the fodder crisis had gotten so bad that animal welfare and family homes were now in danger.
“The current fodder crisis, like the numerous crises of the past few years, is symptomatic of the Fine Gael/Fianna Fail coalition’s complete and utter disregard for rural Ireland,” she said.
“Fodder shortages have become a regular occurrence over the past few years and the government’s complete failure to react has been a depressingly predictable feature of each one.
“Not only have they failed to react in general as shortages have become more frequent but six months ago my colleague, TD Martin Kenny, warned them that a fodder crisis was underway in the North West and that the rest of the country was at risk.
“Not only did the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed not react, he flat out denied that any such crisis existed, seemingly better knowing the state of Irish farms than Irish farmers themselves.
“The current nationwide crisis is a direct result of the Government’s refusal to act when they were first told the problem existed.
“It’s typical, not only of this Government’s short sighted view when it comes to addressing problems, pinching pennies when it comes to helping people but happy to lavish millions on spin departments, but it’s also reflective of their entire attitude to rural Ireland; you need only look at their blatant sabotage of the LEADER funding programme for proof of that.
“Farmers are telling us that animal welfare, and indeed their own livelihoods, are in jeopardy and I for one believe them.
“The Minister must, as a matter of urgency, implement a voucher scheme for the purchase of grain feed from co-ops.
“But just as important as addressing this immediate crisis, the members of this Government, and those who prop them up, must ask themselves serious questions about their disgraceful attitude to rural Ireland. “