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O’Neill visits farmers affected by adverse weather

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today saw at first hand the difficulties faced by farmers as a result of the weekend’s extreme weather.
Monday, 25 March 2013

Speaking during a visit to farms in the Glenarm area of County Antrim, the Minister said: “These are some of the worst weather conditions these areas of the north have seen in many decades and I am particularly concerned about the situation of farmers with livestock which may not have access to feed.

“I have asked that all resources available to the Executive, including those of the emergency services, are made available to help those affected. Good information will help my officials ensure that other utilities are alerted to problems, and prioritise their assistance. It will also allow us to assess what sort of additional help the Executive could offer. This afternoon I have asked the Secretary of State for urgent access to helicopter support, and my department is currently sourcing livestock feed for those most affected.

“A main priority is to ensure roads are cleared to help farmers in dealing with the effects of the severe weather and I have been speaking with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy today on how our Department’s can work closer on this issue. I have instructed Rivers Agency staff to provide support to the Roads Service to assist in clearing minor roads in affected areas which will assist in getting much needed access to these areas. I have also instructed the Chief Executive of the Forest Service to deploy their tracked vehicles to help support this work.”

The Minister concluded: “Farmers experiencing problems should call their normal contact within the Department or alternatively the DARD Helpline on 0300 2007852.

“As this animal welfare situation develops I and my officials are keeping in close contact with farming representative bodies. I would appeal to farmers not to be taking any unnecessary risks whilst tending to their animals.”

Notes to editors:

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