Glenelly Valley: Landslides

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 12th October 2020

T4. Mr McAleer asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for an update on his thinking in relation to a support scheme for the farm families that are still carrying the burden of the severe landslides in August 2017 that devastated the Glenelly valley and other parts of the Sperrins and their hinterland. (AQT 514/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I recognise the desperately difficult circumstances that the people in Glenelly found themselves in as a consequence of the flooding that took place, resulting in landslides and damage to their land. The debris had to be cleared with diggers, and fences were taken out. I have spoken to my officials on the matter. As I have indicated before, I will have to take a ministerial direction on the matter, but I want officials to do as much work as possible so that, if I choose to go down the support route, the case will be as robust as we can make it.

Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin

I am glad that the Minister is still deliberating on the issue. I cannot emphasise enough the depth of feeling of the farmers in the region. On the night of that flooding, farmers in Inishowen were similarly affected, but they received their funding some years ago. I encourage the Minister to conclude his deliberations and look in a positive light at supporting those farmers at the earliest opportunity.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Some support has been offered, but I understand that the farmers believe that something more significant is needed. We need to bring those deliberations to a conclusion one way or the other.