Press Release

Flood-Affected Farmers hit by Potato Blight

Session: 2008/2009

Date: Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Reference: AGR 01/08/09

The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development today condemned a decision by the Department not to submit a case to the Department for Finance and Personnel seeking hardship payments for farmers following the severe flooding of 16 August 2008.

The Committee received the news from departmental officials at a Committee meeting in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday. Speaking following the meeting the Department, the Chairperson of the Committee, Dr William McCrea said, “I am absolutely astounded at this decision, particularly given the Minister’s assurances, given to the Committee at the beginning of October, that the department would pursue hardship payments for these farmers.

“For a department that is currently consulting on its role as a rural champion to claim that there is no convincing case for government intervention in rural areas as a result of this severe flooding, whilst at the same time recognising the case for intervention in urban areas, is, quite frankly, shocking ”

Dr McCrea continued, “The Department in its submission today questioned the viability of these farm businesses and yet has done nothing to help. It has focused on the input costs that farmers have lost, but has given no recognition at all to the loss of profits suffered by these family businesses, marginal though these may be. I can assure those that have been dealt a devastating blow today that this is not the end of the matter and the Committee were unanimous in proposing a vote of no confidence in the business case and it’s authors and in calling for the Minister to reverse this terrible decision”.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

The Chairperson was speaking following a meeting held in the Room 152 in Parliament Buildings.

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