Positive news for farmers affected by Drumkeerin landslide

Positive news for farmers affected by Drumkeerin landslide

The landslide at the Dawn of Hope bridge

Following an intervention by Deputy Marian Harkin in Dail Eireann his week, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said that farmers and landowners affected by the Shass mountain landslide in Drumkeeran in July of last year can apply for their basic payments under CAP in 2021 using a force majeure clause.

Deputy Harkin  stated that in order to apply for the basic payment scheme, ANC payments etc, farmers had to declare that their land was in good agricultural condition.  Because of the fact that approximately 170,000 tonnes of peat had been deposited on lands as a result of the landslide, farmers could not claim their land was in good agricultural condition unless they applied under force majeure which is an exceptional situation that is not foreseen or under the control of the farmers.

She asked Minister McConalogue if he would give the same commitment as Minister Cowen had last year that farmers could claim under force majeure and that there would be no penalties for such claims.  She emphasised that there had not been positive engagement from the Department of Agriculture and that farmers have been treated badly.

"Farmers need to hear directly from you Minister as to what plans or proposal you have in place to compensate them for the damage that has occurred," she said.  She also pointed out that when landslides occurred elsewhere such as Inishowen, in the Ministers own constituency, farmers had been compensated in a timely manner and farmers in Leitrim deserved to be treated in the same way as farmers elsewhere.

Minister McConalogue gave assurances that this year’s farm payments would not be affected and that there would be proactive engagement from his officials in regard to compensation and other matter.

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