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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Cold Weather Update March 4th

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine 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 some 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, as are farmers in high ground. As the thaw begins to set in in most areas, farm safety remains of paramount concern. 

The problem of freezing water pipes is now easing somewhat, but care needs to be taken as burst pipes are revealed with the thaw.

Concerns relating to the provision of water, shelter and feed to livestock remain in some areas, especially in regions in the South East.

Where farmers are tending animals, they should ensure they carry a mobile phone and let people know where they are, checking in at appropriate regular intervals. Where attending to animals in remote locations, a second person should be in accompaniment.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. Further advice on farming during severe weather conditions is available on the Teagasc website.

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.

As a matter of course, water troughs should continue to be checked twice daily, and any ice broken on external troughs as needed.

Operational issues for industry:

Meat plants: Subject to local conditions being suitable, most plants are planning to resume operations on Monday.  

Milk collections have been curtailed in certain areas due to access difficulties.  Milk collection has now resumed throughout most of the country. But 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 are now operating as normal.

Please note: The Department’s offices are expected to reopen on Monday 5th March 2018.  Subject to local conditions in a small number of locations (Johnstown Castle and Backweston) some opening hours may be later than normal.