I am calling on the Government to directly intervene and to take immediate steps to release funding to assist strained farmers who have seen their fodder stocks ravaged to alarming low levels as a result of the relentless, prolonged poor weather conditions. We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis in Irish farming and farmers are in dire need of some assistance or relief.
We have a severe problem at present with a shortage of feed at the end of a long winter. Irish farmers are braced in a fodder crisis of alarming proportions. There is no hay or silage available and farmers cannot get money from banks to allow them to purchase meal. Farmers are concerned for their future, their families and for their stock. I am meeting farmers on a daily basis who are demoralised, distressed and in desperation. Farmers who have built up their business and have strived for a long number of years now face the heart-breaking reality of animals starving. Farmers are severely stressed and in an acute sense of anxiety.
It is my belief that the Government can no longer continue to ignore the reality of farmers under pressure and animals starving. To date we have seen alarming inaction and reluctance by the Government to engage with this issue. It seems that the growing crisis in rural Ireland has simply been ignored to date. I believe that the Government and Minister Coveney must act now to provide financial assistance to help farmers who have been brought to their knees. No further delay can be tolerated. Emergency funds must be made freely available to anybody who is under severe pressure due to fodder and cash flow difficulties. Without this we will literally see animals starving and stock destroyed.