Fianna Fáil TD Kevin O’Keeffe, who has raised the issue in the Dáil on a number of occasions, said he visited a number of grain and cereal farmers in east Cork in early spring and had seen for himself the devastation caused to winter barley crops.
“This was the same weather cycle that caused flood damage and loss of fodder to farmers during the storm season. These tillage farmers should be considered for compensation under the emergency flood damage relief measures scheme,” he said.
Former Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said in April that it was not possible to address all circumstances of flood damage experienced on farms through the emergency flood damage relief initiatives. In this respect, damage to crops was not eligible for support.
Deputy O’Keeffe again raised the matter last week when he urged the new Minister Michael Creed to request European Union Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan to review the basic payment scheme and greening rules given the irregular climatic changes in weather as experienced last winter.
Minister Creed said he’s in regular contact with Commissioner Hogan and his officials regarding the implementation of the scheme and the operation of the rules with regard to greening.
Last year marked the first year of these new direct payment schemes and, as might be expected, Ireland and other member states have had to deal with many issues related to the interpretation of the regulations and rules governing their operation.
“We have submitted a range of proposals to the Commission aimed at more effectively achieving the outcomes envisaged under the schemes, while at the same time maintaining flexibility for member states to implement these provisions in accordance with domestic farming circumstances.
“The commissioner has responded with a number of simplification initiatives, and has indicated that a further package of measures in relation to greening will be presented to member states at the Council of Ministers meeting later this month,” he said.