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Dobson highlights plight of South Down farmers

Ulster Unionist Agriculture Spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson MLA has highlighted that due to the recent snow, seven farm sheds have collapsed within one square mile of a small area of South Down alone.

Mrs Dobson and a number of local councillors visited the Kilcoo area and met with farmers and their families whose farms have been badly hit by the recent heavy snow.

Mrs Dobson said: "The farmers I visited in South Down are typical of many who are having to cope with the tragic aftermath of the snow across Northern Ireland.

"At one farm a large cattle shed roof had completely collapsed under the weight of snow and some livestock were killed as a result.

"They told me that within one square mile, sheds had collapsed at seven different farms.

"If it wasn`t for the support of their neighbours and friends who demonstrated fantastic community spirit, they would be left to shoulder the burden alone. They are rapidly running short on animal feed at a critical time of the year. Sheep are lambing, and they don`t have any cover. The situation is reaching a critical stage for some.

"To make matters worse, many farmers have now found out that their insurance policies will not cover the cost of repairing damaged farm buildings.

"That is why I am calling for help from the Department of Agriculture and the Executive to ensure that these farms have the resources they need to avoid further losses and overcome the challenges that threaten the future viability of their businesses.

 

"The consequences of ignoring their plight would be even greater for the Northern Ireland taxpayer.”

Ulster Unionists