Farmers’ relief after water action ends

Raymond Little
Raymond Little

Farmers on Wednesday told of their relief on hearing news that the “lengthy and costly” industrial action at Northern Ireland Water had been suspended.

Rodney Crozier said water was cut off on his Kesh farm on Monday.

He was speaking to the News Letter yesterday around an hour after it emerged that workers had called off their work-to-rule protest while they considered fresh proposals to resolve the bitter pensions row.

“I know the industrial action is over, but we don’t have any water here yet,” said Mr Crozier.

The Fermanagh man said he was able to get water from a neighbour whose water was not affected.

“This has been an expensive business as you had to put diesel in the tractor to go out and look for water so many times a day,” he said.

“I know when the next water bill comes in we are not paying it because we didn’t get much joy. A neighbour farmer spent the last few days getting water for his dairy herd – as well as doing the rest of the farming duties.

“And this morning we had black ice to add to the problems, but the lack of water was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Meanwhile, Tyrone farmer Raymond Little, who was speaking to the News Letter as news of the industrial action resolution was announced, said: “That is better news. We might be able to get back to normal now.”

The 66-year-old beef farmer from Fintona had no water since Monday, he said.

“When I grew up there were times we had to draw water from a well, but now we don’t have wells.

“Some bigger milk farmers have a bore hole – but not everyone has those.”