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Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine Update on Cold Weather Warning

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today continued its engagement with the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG), convened by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the lead Government Department on Severe Weather Incidents.

The Department has continued to work closely with the NECG throughout the week to prepare for the adverse weather conditions currently persisting and anticipated.  The NECG has met again this morning following the issuing of a Status Red weather warning in some parts of the country.

Conditions are expected to worsen over Thursday and Friday in parts of the country and the NECG are advising that roads should be avoided in Status Red areas due to expected treacherous conditions. In line with this advice the Department has taken the decision to close offices in affected areas on Thursday and Friday.  Contingencies in respect of essential staff providing services to industry in areas such as meat factories, border inspection points and ports have also been facilitated.

It will be appropriate that local decisions continue to be taken based on the most up to date information in line with the particular weather status for any given part of the country.

The Department will continue to participate in the NECG throughout this weather event and issue further advice as the situation evolves.

Such conditions will also obviously remain of acute concern to farmers and those engaged in the agriculture sector. The more significant effects concern the provision of water, shelter and feed to livestock, whether housed or being outwintered. It is essential that water pipes in the farmyard and also leading to outside water troughs are properly insulated and prevented from freezing up. This is particularly important at this time when cows are calving and sheep lambing, giving rise to a heightened demand for water.

In the case of sheep flocks it is essential that they are brought to a sheltered area during the worst of this event. For any animal welfare issues arising from this severe weather event, farmers are advised to keep in touch with their Teagasc adviser, their Veterinary Practitioner, or to contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Animal Welfare Helpline:

Call Save: 0761 064408
Or direct line: 01 6072379.

In order to ensure a safe working environment and also facilitate the movement of essential goods onto and off-farm, the farmyard and its environs should be fully gritted or sanded.

All machinery should be correctly stored, maintained properly and where necessary, heating should be provided to ensure that milking equipment and other critical plant does not freeze up.

All those working on farms are urged to take particular care in relation to their own personal safety and that of family members which should remain paramount during this difficult weather. When herding livestock in remote areas farmers should ensure that somebody knows where they are and that they stay in contact. The Department will continue to be fully represented at all meetings of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in the coming days and will provide updated information where necessary, in addition to that available on the related links as outlined below:

https://www.teagasc.ie/rural-economy/farm-management/farm-health--safety/be-winter-ready/

https://www.winterready.ie/en/guides/farming-community

ENDS

Date Released: 28 February 2018