During yesterday’s meeting of the Dáil Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny, raised the issue of farmers claiming for burnt land facing potential penalties under the BPS scheme.
Mr. Kenny said that he was relieved that Enda Kenny was in agreement with the points raised yesterday, and hopes it will lead to a reconsideration of matters by Minister Doyle. He said “I am relieved that the Taoiseach, today in the Dáil, agreed with me that it would be unfair to penalise farmers, under the BPS, whose land has been burnt as a result of wildfires. I hope he will do as he said and consider it very carefully. I believe that if he does, he will agree that the decision of Minister Doyle must be reconsidered.”
He added that the outgoing Taoiseach in response to the issues raised said that he agreed with farmers, and said that they were the ones making extra efforts to control the blazes, Enda Kenny said “I agree that farmers went out of their way to attempt to deal with the consequences of these fires. I deplore the actions of whoever started these fires in the first place. They were obviously unable to contain what happened afterwards, with resulting massive destruction to property, assets and value, and also in terms of the impact on wildlife and nature in so many ways.
The Taoiseach also added that farmers the victims of these wildfires should not be blamed by the state for their misfortune, “For those who have been victimised by these acts of arson, if that is what they be, we cannot expect them to have the State suddenly say, ‘You are responsible for this yourself’.
He also reiterated his view that the topic and new changes to BPS policies need to be reassessed, “If the land is blackened and the trees burned, and if people’s assets are decimated, I think it is an issue that needs to be looked at with some degree of compassion and consideration. It is a valid point and we will consider it very carefully.”