Ministers must get their act together on slurry spreading – Smith

– The Taoiseach, Agriculture Minister and Housing Minister giving mixed messages –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says the Government needs to urgently clarify the situation regarding slurry spreading for farmers.  Despite repeated calls for the spreading deadline to be extended, the Ministers concerned failed to take any action, and now there is widespread confusion as to whether farmers can apply for exemptions.

“Farmers across Cavan and Monaghan are extremely angry about this current situation.  On the one hand you have the Taoiseach and the Agriculture Minister claiming that individual cases could be examined and facilitated, while on the other hand the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government is sending memos to County Councils reminding them that the closed season began on the 15th October and that no individualised exemptions have been announced”, explained Deputy Smith.

“This is a ridiculous situation and is leading to increased frustration among farmers.  Not only are they dealing with the fallout from the severe weather this summer, and all the additional problems that that has brought, now they’re unable to get clear answers from the Government about slurry spreading exemptions.

“I have been arguing for farmers to be allowed to put their cases forward for assessment.  Some farmers who have contacted me have almost full slurry tanks and have been unable to spread this summer because of the heavy rainfall.  They’re very worried about what this will mean for their business for next year.

“Ministers Creed and Coveney need to have a discussion and come up with a plan that affords these farmers some degree of flexibility.  Exemptions are being granted in Northern Ireland, and they have been granted here before as well.  This is the only sensible solution and I’m urging the Ministers to act immediately”.