Well known Tipp farmer and Deputy President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, has stated that uncertainty over the function and status of a local DVO is causing confusion and unnecessary anxiety to farmers in the county. Mr McCormack pointed out that rumours are circulating about a possible downgrading of the Tipp town office and an internal re-organisation that might mean that local farmers may have to travel long distances to have certain matters resolved.
The responsibility for the confusion, according to Mr McCormack, lay squarely with the Department itself, which seemed unable to communicate its decision with the required clarity and reassurances.
“ICMSA is not in the business of bashing the Department here and we realise fully that budgets are under continuous review, but we’d make two points strongly: Firstly, it is not up to the farmer, as the customer, to try and work out what he can get done at Tipp town and what he may have to travel further afield to get done. The responsibility for informing with clarity and precision ‘who exactly will be doing what’ lies with the Department and they’re simply not doing that. If there’s any confusion about the status of the Tipp town DVO then it is certainly the responsibility of the Department to address that confusion and dispel it”, noted the Greenane farmer.
“The second point to note here is that ICMSA has long commented on this pattern where the Department or whoever announce that economies are to be made in terms of offices or on-the-ground representation. Of course, no such economies are made on their behalf; what actually happens is that the cost is simply transferred onto the farmers using that office or local representative. Tipp town’s DVO is a perfect example: the staff was helpful and well regarded by the farming community. Their cost didn’t disappear; all that happened was that a portion of it has been transferred from the State to the farmer. ICMSA has been in contact with the Department and stressed the need to communicate directly with local farmers and to inform them whether all existing services are to be retained at their local offices and – if not – what the new arrangements are to be”, concluded Mr McCormack