Tackling flooding must be a priority

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UFU deputy president, Barclay Bell joined UFU members in North-East Armagh to see the severe damage caused to grassland as a result of the winter floods.

He said: “It is only now when the floods have finally subsided that we can see how the flood damage is impacting on our members’ businesses in what is an already very difficult year.”

Mr Bell’s visit followed a regional review of winter flooding with senior government officials. This looked at the causes, the issues faced by those affected and the current management and operating regime to control water levels in Lough Neagh. A case was made for a review of how effective the response by various agencies had been.

The UFU also held a series of meetings with its members affected by flooding in the Lough Erne and Lough Neagh areas. “The duration has left many fields effectively useless for farming. Swards have completely disappeared or been left as clumps of rotting grass. Normally at this time of year farmers look forward to turning out livestock. However for now people are going to have to keep their cattle housed and focus on reseeding,” said Mr Bell. The UFU says it will will continue to press the Rivers Agency and the Executive on the issue.