Farmers counting the cost of Storm Ellen call for new Minister to be appointed

“The department is in chaos - it has gone through two ministers in the space of two months"
Farmers counting the cost of Storm Ellen call for new Minister to be appointed

Cork and the south coast bore the brunt of Storm Ellen. Picture: David Creedon

Saturated and damaged crops were all that was left in the wake of Storm Ellen last week with one Cork farmer describing the situation as “a disaster”.

Ray Quinn, a tillage farmer from Nohoval, Kinsale spoke to the “Irish Examiner” about the devastation left on his 350acre farm after the storm made its impact felt on the farming community in Munster last Thursday.

In the days leading up to the storm, Ray had been in the thick of harvesting and had managed to cut 50acre before the storm came in.

Now, much of the remaining crop is destroyed and the financial hit to him and other farmers in the area “is massive”.

“I had about 50acres cut by the time Storm Ellen came in but I still have 300acres to cut,” Ray added.

“It backed in at 3.5t/ac at 16% moisture and passing for malten; we cut yesterday and we were cutting 2.5t/ac failing for malten at 23% moisture.

“There would be a €30 bonus off a tonne of corn at that; plus another €15 for the moisture content on top of that means that it’s around €45-€50/t that a tillage farmer is down now.” He also says there are other losses to be factored in.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and former Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary. The Taoiceah is to hold the role of Agri Minister. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and former Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary. The Taoiceah is to hold the role of Agri Minister. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

He also stressed the importance of appointing a new minister for agriculture in light of the devastation left behind by Storm Ellen in the Munster region.

“There is no sign of the weather getting any better either, so there is going to be more losses to contend with before the harvest is over,” he said.

“When we get back out to harvest a lot of it will be on the ground and the combines won’t be able to pick it off the ground.” 

“The situation in the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine needs to be addressed immediately.

“The new minister is very welcome to come down here now and see for themselves the damage that has been done.” 

The situation in Cork also led Senator Tim Lombard (FG) to call for a new minister to be appointed “as soon as possible” earlier today.

“We need a dedicated minister who is going to look after the agriculture in the country,” he added.

“We are limbo now with the Taoiseach Micheal Martin holding that office temporarily.

“The department is in chaos - it has gone through two ministers in the space of two months - never before in the history of the State have we seen Ag House at the centre of such turmoil.

“We need political stability there and as soon as we have the opportunity we need to appoint a new minister.

“When that appointment is made I want the minister down here in Munster to see for themselves the damage that has been done.”

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