ICSA Roscommon Chairman Ger Grehan has called for immediate remedial works to be carried out to prevent flooding along the River Shannon.
Mr Grehan said this was the resounding message from over 200 farmers gathered at an ICSA regional meeting held in Athlone recently.
Speaking following the meeting Mr Grehan said “Farmers here tonight have clearly expressed their anger and frustration about pen pushing around the issue of flooding. It is clear that the Shannon coordination committee has not worked so ICSA is calling for a single agency, namely the OPW, to immediately take charge of managing the river Shannon.
It is the position of ICSA that the CFRAM report is too urban based and does nothing to recognise the problem in rural areas. Propping up flood defences in towns, while necessary, has the effect of pushing the problem out to rural areas and farmlands. Further, remedial works on the Shannon must to be done in conjunction with private contractors to complete the dredging work required in the shortest possible timeframe”, he said.
Minister Denis Naughten outlined the actions government were planning to take to alleviate the flooding threat. He added that a cabinet subcommittee has been established that both he and Minister Canney were members of.
Trade Deals were also a “hot topic” at the meeting.
Live exporter and guest speaker Micheál Maxwell railed against the amount of bureaucracy affecting Turkish live exports and said that import taxes in Turkey were a major issue. Bureaucracy could also hinder the prospect of heavier cattle entering the Egyptian market, he said, and that prospects for live exports to Italy were also poor due to both their economy and to changes in retailing where trends show discrimination against beef from Italian feedlots where the cattle were born in Ireland.
Also in attendance were Michael Fitzmaurice TD and Matt Carthy MEP. Mr Carthy focused on international trade deals currently under negotiation. ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch outlined how Brexit could potentially lead to a doubling of ultra-cheap South American beef imports should separate EU / Mercosur and UK / Mercosur trade deals become a reality.