6th January, 2016
ICSA president Patrick Kent has cautiously welcomed the announcement of additional funding for those most affected by flooding. Following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, farmers will benefit from a hardship recognition case fund and a fodder replacement scheme. However, Mr Kent questioned whether there will be sufficient funds to cover the widespread damage.
“Farmers have been calling for urgent practical and financial help so our hope would be that these schemes will be delivered promptly to those in need.” However, “a more comprehensive compensation fund similar to the UK’s Farming Recovery Fund would assist a greater number of farmers struggling to recover their livelihoods”, he said.
“In addition, to prevent future flooding, funding must be made available to increase the capacity of the lower Shannon between the lakes and the ocean. De-silting and dredging needs to be carried out to remove impediments and get the floodwaters moving more efficiently out to sea. I once again call in to question the ESB’s ability to independently manage the levels of water in the Shannon”.
Mr Kent said the introduction of a flood management coordination agency is a step in the right direction. “Nevertheless, I am concerned that it could be bogged down in bureaucratic wrangling between the different agencies. We have heard a lot of this before, action was promised and not delivered upon. Difficult and expensive decisions on flood prevention requires real political will to overcome environmental objectors and financial constraints. It remains to be seen if that political will exists.”