ICMSA chief hits out at EU ‘double standards’ over crisis funding

The EU’s generosity towards flood-stricken central European farmers is in stark contrast with its refusal to offer relief during Ireland’s fodder crisis, according to ICMSA president John Comer.

The dairy group said the European Commission was speedy in deploying the solidarity fund in response to recent floods. However, it failed to offer any relief for the estimated €1bn costs to Irish agri-food caused by last year’s weather and consequent fodder crisis.

Mr Comer said: “Farmers and the wider Irish general public would be quite curious about a situation that had the EU Farm Council rushing to assure Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany that the commission will ‘examine quickly’ any demands made of both the EU Solidarity Fund and EAFRD rural development fund.

“Meanwhile, Ireland’s request for some funding to help deal with the ruinous weather conditions and the subsequent fodder crisis were, according to our Government, dismissed without much ado.”

Mr Comer drew particular attention to the fact a joint document produced by the aforementioned member states arguing their case for assistance from the funds specifically mentions that livestock farms in the regions are threatened with shortage of fodder and will have to buy additional feed supplies during the winter.

Mr Comer asked why Ireland’s fodder shortage and its need to provide for feed supplies for next winter was any less deserving than the central European states.

He said Irish farmers want an explanation as to why the losses suffered by Austrian farmers due to flooding are deemed more important and worthy of relief than losses of Irish farmers which, he was willing to wager, were proportionately greater.

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