Latest: Michael Creed defends response to fodder crisis

Update 6.05pm: The Agriculture Minister has defended his response to the fodder crisis.

Michael Creed TD told the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee that no one could have predicted the wet spring that has left farm animals facing starvation in many areas.

Opposition TDs told the Minister he should have acted sooner to import and stockpile fodder.

The Minister said no one could have predicted the bad weather we have been having.

Fianna Fáil's Agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue said other areas are in his control.

"We expect you as minister to be on top of your brief and on top of the issues and to be fully aware of the pressures in the farming community and to be prepared in the event that there's leadership required from the Department," he said.

"Unfortunately that hasn't been the case in this instance and we're in a situation now where we have to try and support farmers as best we can."

Earlier: Oireachtas Agriculture Committee to discuss financial supports for farmers amid fodder crisis

Update 7.34am: The Oireachtas Agriculture Committee is to discuss the fodder crisis across the country today.

It has invited the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to its meeting to explain what steps his department will be taking to tackle the issue.

Committee Chair Fine Gael Deputy Pat Deering says they want a detailed update on the crisis.

Mr Deering said: "Today we'll have the Minister Michael Creed before us to give us an update as to where we are at the moment as regards the fodder situation. We'll be hoping to see exactly what fodder has been brought into the country as we speak."

The Agriculture Committee wants to discuss possible financial supports for farmers today.

Mr Deering said: "We'll be also looking from him today exactly what the situation is regarding the credit flow which is a big issue at the moment in the country, there has been a huge cost of feed in the past number of weeks."

The Committee is greatly troubled by reports of animals going hungry and farmers being unable to access enough fodder.

The Committee's Chair said they want to get assurances from him that farmers needs will be met.

Mr Deering said: "Well, first of all, we'll be looking to ensure that every farmer that needs feeding will be able to get it right around the country.

"At the moment, the vast majority of co-ops are importing feeds, some are not at the moment, and it is vitally important that all co-ops are importing their feedstuffs and every farm will have access to that feedstuff."

- Digital Desk

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