EXACTLY a month since the heavens opened above Doon causing rivers of rocks and silt to destroy bridges, roads and flood homes, Limerick IFA says farmers have been left high and dry.
The force of the rain water running down from the hills carried everything in its wake and deposited rubble in fields, farm yards and even into slatted sheds. While plans are in motion to reconstruct roads and bridges, Limerick IFA chairman, Aidan Gleeson says affected farmers have repair bills running into tens of thousands of euros.
Two farmers couldn’t get out onto the public road after the passages into their farms were washed away.
“People in the countryside are facing unique challenges and they need help when a disaster likes this strikes. As much sympathy and all as we have for people in the urban areas there have been cases where flooding took place in the city and there was compensation available to the people for their hardship,” said Mr Gleeson. But despite representations from Limerick IFA there is currently no money on the table.
“Passages washed away; rubble, rocks, gravel and stones swept on to meadow fields and into slatted sheds; tracks dug through green fields; drains and culverts blocked; big holes dug in passages, crazy, crazy stuff. It was an act of God so there is no insurance.
“We are calling on the Government to assist the farmers to reinstate their properties and repair the damage and not leave them holding the baby,” said Mr Gleeson.
The men, who are all beef farmers, already work in disadvantaged land.
“The money is not in farming now that they can go out and bear the cost of these repairs themselves,” said the chairman. The IFA warned this Wednesday that “anger and frustration among beef farmers over price and specification cuts is at boiling point”.
“If they are not able to reinstate their properties or their water courses the next heavy fall of rain is going to flow in all the wrong directions again and is going to do further damage,” said Mr Gleeson, who also called on work to commence on the public roads and bridges.
Doon IFA chairman, Dennis Duggan said farmers are looking at big bills to reinstate their passages to get into their houses and farm yards.
“If they were going to put down a new farm roadway they would plan for a year to put aside the money but they came out one evening and their passage ways were gone. Farmers are already out of pocket from the emergency repairs that had to be done,” said Mr Duggan. Damage to fields for future fodder is another big issue.
Just one example this week is principal of Doon CBS Primary School, Br James Dormer who asked a local farmer to bale a couple of acres silage beside the school.
“It was a fine heavy crop but afterwards he said it was worthless because it was full of silt and stones. It had to be dumped,” said Br Dormer.
A public meeting on the issue takes place in Doon Community Centre this Friday, August 22 at 11am and all are invited to attend.