Flooding crisis: ‘Birds, frogs, and fish getting priority’

Clare dairy farmer says flooded land could take 12 months to regain serviceability

Farmers believe that “birds, frogs and fish are getting priority over human suffering”, the president of the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has said in a critique of the Government’s response to the flooding crisis.

Visiting swamped farms in Clonlara, Co Clare, on Tuesday, John Comer called for a single waterways authority to be set up to organise the fastest method of getting water through the country's rivers and out to sea.

“We know the Government can’t stop the rain, but they can stop the rain of confusion amongst the plethora of agencies that have jurisdiction and governance over the waterways of Ireland.”

Financial loss

Dairy farmer Paudie Ryan who has been badly hit by the floods said "the land is lost, it's a massive financial loss".


Despite a four-inch drop in floodwater levels in Clonlara overnight, Mr Ryan and his neighbours were still struggling to deal with the water flows.

“I’ve cows calving in the next week to 10 days, and I don’t know where to go with them,” he said.

“I had cows milking before all this, and all that month’s milk has been lost, it’s gone.”

Mr Ryan and his elderly father Pat were forced to evacuate over 100 cows on to neighbouring farms after the water rose waist-high three weeks ago.

“It’s a huge financial hit, it’s a terrible inconvenience, and it’s a terrible imposition on my neighbours,” he said.

“It creates an awful lot of work, and it creates a huge financial burden on me for the rest of the year, not just for now.”


He said the yard, silo and barn had been destroyed. “Feed and everything else is gone.The land will take months to drain – maybe March or April – but the question I can’t answer is how long will it take the land to recover once the water goes off of it. It could be up to 12 months, maybe, before it can go back to doing what it does best, growing grass crop for the cattle.”

Mr Comer, said: “It’s soul-destroying to see such devastation on such a scale. It’s absolutely demoralising for people.

“A lot of locals here feel, and have articulated to me, that the birds, the frogs and the fish are getting priority over humans and human suffering in areas like this.”