Gildernew announces aid for farmers affected by August 2008 flooding
Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA today announced the introduction of legislation to provide hardship payments to farmers who suffered loss as a result of the exceptional flooding on 16 August 2008.
Announcing the introduction of the legislation to setup the scheme the Minister said: "This one off hardship payment scheme will allow my Department to now begin to distribute the £500,000 allocated by the Executive to assist farmers worst affected by the flooding. While this limited funding does not fully address the loss suffered by farmers it will go some way towards addressing hardship."
Commenting on the detail of the scheme the Minister said: "My officials have developed a hardship payments scheme, based on damage inspected and assessed following the flooding. The scheme seeks to distribute the limited funding available as widely and as equitably as possible across the potato, cereal and vegetable sectors affected. Payments, up to the State Aid de minimis limit of €7,500, will be made to farmers who reported losses to the Department as a result of the flooding on 16 August 2008, and where these losses have already been verified to be of at least £500 by an on-site visit carried out by a Departmental official."
The Minister concluded: "Eligible farmers will shortly receive notification of their hardship payment entitlement and details of how to claim payment. Eligible farmers need to get applications back to my Department by 5 March 2009, in order to receive this payment. I hope that there will be good up-take of this one off offer of assistance. In the future the industry should look to other means of addressing such loss."