A local councillor who called for an agri ombudsman received unanimous support during a recently held Co Co meeting in Abbeyshrule.
Cllr John Duffy (FG) said that the move was necessary because of mounting pressures on farmers and the lack of supports available to them in times of difficulty. “Farmers are being penalised and then they are forced to appeal to the Department, where they get nowhere, so the farmer has to take the medicine,” he said, adding that the situation was “No longer acceptable”. “All other systems have an appeal mechanism and farmers are very private people, so things are getting a lot of them down. An appeals process would really help in preventing mental health difficulties that is for sure.”
Cllr Louis McEntire (FF) fully supported the motion and he told Cllr Duffy that he agreed with his endeavours, before calling for an annual meeting with farming organisations and the local authority so that all issues could be addressed. “I agree wholeheartedly; farmers certainly have not got much of an avenue to sort any problems out,” he added. “I am proposing that we as a council have one agricultural meeting a year and invite representatives from the various farming organisations, so that we can address properly the issues as they arise. Farmers do not know where to turn to half the time because all the local offices have closed down.” Cllr McEntire also r eceived unanimous support for his motion.