WEST Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has urged the DAERA Minister to make a bid for unallocated funds to develop a sch-
eme for farmers who were devastated by the 2017 landslide in the Sperrins.
Mr McAleer said: “It is approaching four years since an unprecedented landslide devastated farmland, live-lihoods and community facilities in the Glenelly Valley and other parts of the Sperrins region. Farmers have been carrying these losses since, which have been compounded in recent years by the loss of ANC funding and the Covid lockdown of the food service sector, which caused a drop in farmgate prices.
“I have raised this issue consistently with Minister Poots, it is grossly unfair that farmers in Inishowen who were impacted by the same climatic event on the same night have been compensated years ago by the Irish government.
“There is over £250 million not yet allocated in the January monitoring round and the Finance Minister Conor Murphy has appealed to the DAERA Minister to come forward with proposals to spend this money.
“I have written to Minister Lyons imploring him to take this opportunity to bid for this funding to compensate the Glenelly farmers.”
Mr McAleer continued: “I have raised the issue of funding bids at recent AERA committee meetings and I am aware that the department is reluctant to make bids in case they are unable to spend the funding by the end of the financial year.
“This should not be the case with the Glenelly landslide. The damage has been meticulously documented and included a fly over by a plane at the time to assess the damage. The department know exactly what damage was caused, who was impacted and how much compensation is needed.
“This is the Minister’s opportunity to prove that his department support these farmers. He needs to act now.”