Fianna Fail's agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue says his party is standing with rural communities and farming families by continuing to highlight the appalling response by government to the ongoing fodder crisis.

This week Fianna Fáil is bringing forward motions in the Dáil and the Seanad calling for the government to take immediate action to remedy the situation.

Fooder is animal food, especially dried hay or straw, for cattle and other livestock.

Farmers, especially those in the west and north-west of the country, claim that weather conditions since August have left them in a serious fodder crisis.

They need dried hay and feed to last until spring when the grass begins to grow and animals can begin to eat that instead - but the wet summer means farmers are running out of hay earlier than usual.

FODDER CRISIS

Deputy Charlie McConalogue (right) meets Irish Farmers' Association president Joe Healy.

Donegal TD McConalogue said: “What was a fodder shortage has become a fodder crisis. Since last September, Fianna Fáil has consistently called on the government to tackle the escalating fodder shortages throughout the country.

“However, as a result of the minister’s failure to acknowledge the emerging issues and engage with farmers, the situation has now become a national emergency, which is putting a huge strain on farmers’ mental health and is creating animal welfare issues.

"This crisis is yet another example of just how out of touch Fine Gael is with rural Ireland.

“Fianna Fáil from the outset has called for a meal voucher scheme to be set up for affected farmers to help them plug the fodder gap.

"The transport subsidy scheme has been a failure and has actually driven up the demand and price for already scarce domestically sourced fodder.

“Our motion also calls on the Government to immediately pay outstanding 2017 balancing payments for GLAS and the Sheep Welfare Scheme to ease the cash flow difficulties that farmers are facing.

"The low cost loan scheme for farmers announced last October also needs to be opened.

“We look forward to getting cross party support in both houses for our motion, which we hope will send a signal to government that inaction is no longer an option and that swift decisions are needed to alleviate the crisis."

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