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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Storm Emma Response Update March 5th

Following on from the cold weather events of last week and Storm Emma in particular, the impacts of which have varied considerably across the country, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has been working constructively with industry to get farming up and running and fully operational as quickly as possible.

All Department offices are open, including those in the South East, where the effects of last week were felt most acutely. Departmental staff are on the ground, actively monitoring the situation locally, and in the south east in particular. Efforts are focussed on coordinating with other stakeholders in this regard, to ensure that appropriate and timely advice is available to farmers.

The Department continues to work with other Departments and agencies in the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG). At the meeting of the NECG today reports indicated that most of the country is returning to normal but that challenges remain in a number of areas. As the country recovers from the storm, the Department asks all stakeholders to remain vigilant in respect of the issues outlined below.

Farm Safety

The impacts of Storm Emma have varied considerably across the country, with areas along the east and south most impacted. Farm safety remains of paramount concern.

Whilst the problem of freezing water pipes has eased, care needs to be taken as burst pipes are revealed.

Care should be maintained around the farmyard when clearing up after the storm. Falls represent the single biggest threat during any clean-up period after such storms and appropriate care needs to be taken to avoid such occurrences.

Any attempts to remove snow from roofs of farm buildings should be avoided. Repairs to buildings and equipment should be carried by appropriately qualified personnel. With a thaw there will be significant volumes of slush and water to deal with, so it will be particularly important to ensure drains and gullies are clear to prevent flooding of tanks.

Animal Welfare

The Department’s 24-hour animal welfare helpline continues to be monitored and this will remain the case over the coming days. Members of the public with any concerns can contact the Department’s helpline on: 

  • Call Save 0761 064408 or 01-6072379. 

There have been 40 calls to the helpline since Wednesday, all of which have been appropriately responded to, via channels such as the Department Regional Veterinary Offices.

Operational issues for industry:

Meat plants: Subject to local conditions being suitable, most plants that had planned resumption of operations today have done so. This follows on from a number of plants which operated at the weekend where local conditions facilitated such an approach.

Milk collections have been curtailed in certain areas due to access difficulties. Milk collection has now resumed throughout the majority of relevant locations throughout the country. However, the situation remains challenging in some areas in the South East and on higher ground. The Department is coordinating with the dairy industry, and with other Government agencies, to expedite collections.

Harbours: The six Fishery Harbour Centres continue to operate as normal.


Date Released: 05 March 2018

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