September 14th, 2017
Farmers affected by recent flooding in Donegal can now apply for financial aid of up to €15,000 to cover damage caused by Hurricane Gert in late August.
The scheme run by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will compensate losses not covered by an applicant’s insurance.
Flash flooding in Donegal last month caused devastation for dozens of farmers, with farmland, sheds, stock, and farmhouses badly damaged by the heavy downpour.
Last week, Minister of State Joe McHugh said that the aid will allow farmers access to funds for loss of livestock hay or silage, clean-up of damaged agricultural lands and repairs to damaged fencing.
The Donegal-native said that the scheme will be up and running by 29 September to quickly process applications to allow farmers to “begin to fix the damage to their farms” as soon as possible.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) welcomed the move but warned that applications must be processed “without delay” and follower by payments within the coming weeks.
IFA project Chairman Padraic Joyce said that the fund should also cover fodder losses, structural damage, land damage, and farm roadways.
At an IFA meeting in Buncrana on Tuesday, farmers raised their concerns and highlighted the need for all losses to be taken into account.
Other schemes have already been put in place in Donegal such as the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, which is providing means-tested emergency financial assistance through the Department of Social Protection.
Uninsured small businesses, voluntary groups and sporting organisations have also assisted with schemes administered by the Department of Defence.
One in a 100-year event
The rainfall in Donegal was among the worst in living memory in Ireland, described by Met Éireann as a “once in 100 year event”.
However, this description has come under fire due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, with Climatologist Dr Kieran Hickey telling The Irish Times that the phrase “really need to be retired”.
Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten also recently warned that “severe weather events like the ones we’ve seen in Donegal are going to happen more frequently”.
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said: “Our response must be to ensure that climate change is factored into the River Basin Management Plan […] ensuring that we manage river catchments and design our drainage system to cope with these more extreme events as much as possible.”
The DAFM Flood Damage Relief Measure is open for applications here.