Dear Minister Creed,
As the country begins the task of clearing away the debris and repairing the damage from Tropical storm Ophelia we would like to make a polite suggestion.
It is becoming apparent that many farms are not equipped to deal with power outages resulting from trees falling onto their local power lines. We are aware that line clearance work was undertaken after the storm of February 2014 but this was insufficient to prevent many of the 365,000 reported power outages that resulted from Ophelia.
The most obvious difficulties have occurred on our dairy farms. The milking of herds must continue and milk must be cooled and stored. For dry stock farmers, animals must be fed and watered. Farmers, the processors and those working to restore power have all done trojan work but we need to ensure that everyone is better equipped for the inevitable repetitions. They may even start this weekend with Storm Brian arriving; possibly before some are even reconnected after Ophelia.
Hence, we would like to suggest that any money that has not been spent in previous budgets is immediately used to fully grant aid the provision of generators to dairy farms and, at least, PTO generators to stock farms. The benefits to farmers is self-evident. Processors would also not have the concern of dealing with suppliers who are unable to cool and store their milk.
The benefits of a comprehensive scheme to grant aid generators to farmers will also be wider. It will allow the emergency services and ESB to concentrate on restoring power to those in more critical need and where many more houses and businesses are impacted by power outage events. Such a scheme will be a win-win solution for all.