18/04/2013

O'Neill Guest Speaker At Rural Community Meeting

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill was guest speaker at a meeting to discuss the recent snow storm which affected rural communities across Northern Ireland.

At the meeting in Hilltown, County Down, which was attended by over 200 people, Minister O’Neill said: "South Down was one of the main areas to have been affected by the recent severe weather. The collection and disposal scheme, which closes this Friday, has proven to have been of great assistance with hundreds of farms in the South Down area having had livestock collected.

"The second element of the hardship measures introduced, proposals for which I will bring to the Executive in due course, will seek to mitigate the costs of livestock losses that have been sustained by farmers arising from the snow storm."

Counties Antrim and Down were hit particularly hard by the extreme weather, with the Department of Agriculture saying it has collected the carcasses of almost 10,000 sheep and 300 cattle from farms across Northern Ireland.

"The hardship scheme will be linked to the collection and disposal scheme and will be framed in light of the information gathered on the extent and nature of losses which we will build as farmers have stock removed and disposed of by the approved renderers," Minister O'Neill said.

"The details of the hardship scheme and how to apply will be made public as soon as possible."

(IT/CD)

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