MINISTER TO MEET SPERRIN FARMERS OVER AID PACKAGE

A mother and her lamb survive the recent heavy snow blizzard in the Sperrin Mountains

A mother and her lamb survive the recent heavy snow blizzard in the Sperrin Mountains

AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill is to meet farmers in the Sperrin Mountains on Friday over fears they will lose out on a £5 million aid package.

The Sinn Fein MLA said she wanted to assure the farmers that they will be included in the scheme.

The Department of Agriculture published a post code list of farmers eligible for help that did not cover all areas.

However, the minister said any farmers that were affected would be included in the scheme.

She said the list had originally focused on counties Antrim and Down because they had been affected by heavy snowfall in a “widespread manner”.

“I want to assure farmers that if they were affected by the snow storm and they are having their animals collected, they will be included in the scheme,” she said.

Last week, the executive agreed an aid package worth up to £5m to help those who have lost livestock in the recent heavy snowfalls.

The executive will pay for the collection and disposal of sheep which died in the blizzard.

However, the president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Harry Sinclair, said farmers have been told no further details of the hardship package and they need clarity.

“People who are affected know there is supposed to be help coming but when you are in that moment of despair, you need to know what is going to happen now,” he said.

“They need help to maintain the stock that remain. A lot of extra feed is needed and most of these farmers, because of their low income from last year, do not have the resources to fund that.

“They are not the type of people who would be able to go and negotiate large bank overdrafts so a lot of them are in a difficult position and need help immediately,” said Mr Sinclair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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