Government loses Dáil vote on tillage farming compensation fund

Fianna Fáil has called on the government to recognise the result of the vote and introduce the emergency fund

Government loses Dáil vote on tillage farming compensation fund

Grain being loaded on to a lorry at the Athgarvin Mill in County Kildare, 08-08-2016. Image: Eamonn Farrell

The government has lost a vote in the Dáil on the creation of a tillage farming compensation fund.

The proposal put forward by Fianna Fáil calls for the creation of a support fund for over 200 farmers along the south coastline and in western counties that suffered devastating crop losses due to adverse weather last year.

The motion was supported by Sinn Féin, Labour and a number of independents.

In response to the Fianna Fáil private members motion, the government introduced its own counter-proposals - which were soundly defeated by 87 votes to 49.

The defeat came directly after the Ceann Comhairle had to step in to back the government after a vote on the AAA-PBP Anti-Evictions Bill was tied at 51 votes apiece.

He used his casting vote to swing the tally the government's way. 

Heavy rains along the western seaboard last September left crops saturated according to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) - making it impossible for many to harvest grain crops and leading to combined losses of €4m.

The farmers marched on the Dáil yesterday afternoon calling for the introduction of the compensation fund.

Following the vote this afternoon, IFA president Joe Healy called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to reconvene the National Tillage Forum as a matter of urgency to deal with the emergency aid issue.

“Following our protest outside the Dail yesterday, there is a groundswell of support for those tillage farmers who incurred significant weather losses during last year’s harvest,” he said.

He said the minister had already recognised the hardship facing tillage farmers and accepted the need for emergency aid.

While the motion was passed today, the government is under no legislative obligation to implement it.

Fianna Fail spokesperson on agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, said he welcomed the strong cross-party support for the motion.

“I’m now calling on the Government to recognise the decision of the Dail, that a fund is required,” he said