Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesperson Michael Creed T.D. has called on the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith T.D. to engage with potato growers who face wipeout following a winter of devastating weather conditions. Deputy Creed said;

“It is important that Minister Smith shows empathy and understanding at this time with growers who face the wipeout of their entire crop. It is estimated that as much as 75% of the 6,000 unharvested acres of the Countries potato crops are already devastated, with the remaining 25% under increasing threat. The principle of the Minister intervening during adverse weather conditions has been established during the recent flooding crisis, with the fodder scheme

“While I acknowledge the budgetary constraints facing the Minister, I believe it is crucial that the Minister at very least opens dialogue with those involved in the sector to discuss a range of solutions that may be available. Every possible scenario should be exhausted in order to aid those who are affected by these unprecedented conditions”.

We welcomed this initiative and would encourage the Minister to show similar proactivity in this situation where the crisis is comparable if not worse”.

“Potato and vegetable growers have already faced a difficult time of late due to the purchasing activities of the larger multiples. Fine Gael have proposed a Fair Trade Bill in order to alleviate some of the problems which growers have faced. Dublin & Meath Growers are an example of a business which has closed its doors due to competitiveness issues faced in recent years”.

“This is an opportunity for the Government to acknowledge the problems in the sector and engage with it, in order to maintain vital jobs\”.