Farmers continue to live in fear of losing even more land, their eligibility to claim scheme payments and seeing farm infrastructure submerged by floodwaters when watching the water level of Lough Funshinagh, which has not receded since 2016, a meeting of elected representatives and the public heard on Monday.
This is despite there being an Office of Public Works (OPW) funded pipeline two-thirds of the way to completion by Roscommon County Council halted since last year after an injunction was taken against the works by environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment (FOIE).
Local farm adviser James Kelly told the meeting that farmers had been facing serious financial difficulties arising from their inability to farm normally as more and more land went under water.
Retrospective payments for land left ineligible for schemes should be considered, Kelly argued, stating that farmer concerns had not been sufficiently addressed by the Department of Agriculture over the "difficult" years they faced.
“It has caused enormous hardship with regards to the loss of entitlements, the loss of agricultural land, the loss of value of land,” the farm adviser said.
“And this really hasn’t been focused on at all over the past couple of years. With the Department of Agriculture, there wasn’t much tolerance shown in relation to the loss of entitlements.
“Those farmers have taken a hit on those entitlements, they have taken a hit on them, they have taken a hit on the loss of their farmland and, on top of that, there is the stress of it as well, they have had to destock,” he explained.
The meeting was chaired by former Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Joe Healy, who told the crowd that he visited flooded farms, describing the yard facilities he saw as being “redundant”.
The attendees also heard that the relocation of residents would be “unfair and unjust”, as families had lived for “generations on the land”.
The remarks came from Senator Eugene Murphy, who stated that both Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and an Taoiseach Micheál Martin would visit the area to meet with residents.
Minister McConalogue’s trip was expected “hopefully, over the coming weeks”, according to the senator, who added that the organising committee would be asked to go before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to recount their struggles in attempting to remain farming through the disruption.