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Time:14 Dec 2015
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The severe weather of recent days has caused serious flooding in many areas of the country but particularly in Connaught, Munster and the midlands where some farmland has been seriously affected by the exceptionally high level of rainfall. Speaking about the effects of this flooding the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney stressed that first and foremost his concern is for the safety of farmers and their families. The Minister said that ?°farmers need to be extra vigilant and should avoid going into water logged/flooded farmland as there are hidden dangers?±. He added that his Department is working closely with Teagasc to assess the situation on the ground in the worst affected areas and that agricultural advisors are available locally to give advice and support to farm families.

The Minister referred to the special arrangements that his Department has put in place to deal with animal welfare issues that might arise as a result of flooding. The main area of concern at the moment is the flooding of slurry tanks. In this regard the Minister said that in emergency cases farmers are being permitted to pump some water out of flooded tanks and that they should liaise with their local Teagasc advisers for advice on these emergency arrangements. The Department has also announced a relaxation of some rules around the movement of animals where the welfare or lives of animals is threatened.

In addition to the above flexibilities to address any issues concerning animal welfare the Minister said that ?°In line with previous severe weather incidents and insofar as farm inspections are concerned, my Department will take account of the damage caused by flooding and deal sensitively with such inspection cases?±. Matters relating to damage to property (such as fences) or the adverse condition of land due to severe flooding or storm damage will be dealt with using force majeure provisions.

Finally Minister Coveney reminded farmers that his Department?ˉs Animal Welfare Helpline is available to take calls relating to animal welfare issues. The helpline is open daily from 9am to 17.45pm daily including at the weekend and can be contacted

Full details of the advice to farmers is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Website, from local Department Veterinary Offices and from Teagasc advisers.

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