NORTH Antrim DUP Assemblyman Paul Frew has slammed the decision taken by the DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill to withdraw the support of two RAF Chinooks from the emergency effort snow effort.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Frew reacted angrily and was scathing at the fact that the Minister or the department had not informed him of this decision even when the DARD Committee that he chairs had met with senior officials from the department including the Permanent Secretary only hours before.
Mr Frew said: “This decision is one that ranks of stupidity and is only being made to satisfy Republican ideology and to protect Sinn Fein’s green clouded myth, that they sell their electorate, that some how they are not part of the UK.
“She has betrayed the very people she is supposed to protect and represent, the farming community, at a time when they needed the Department the most.
“How dare they withdraw much needed air support when we are still in the grip of this crisis when so many are still stranded, when so many are still in despair trying to locate their livestock or more importantly trying to feed the livestock that is still alive.
“This is a fundamental error of judgement by the DARD Minister and its very clear she is either ignoring the plight of the farmer or she has misjudged the scale of this crisis.
“Has she not seen the despair on the faces of the farmers as they try and get much needed feed to their stranded flocks? Has she not seen the devastating damage done to the Farming industry not least in my own constituency of North Antrim?
“I am scathing that she has taken away the only relief that some farmers in north Antrim were receiving at this time.
‘Farmers in north Antrim would accept help from anywhere at this time from the US Marines or the French Foreign Legion for that matter they don’t care who helps them they just need help.
“The Chinooks were a symbol of much needed relief, powerful machines that were bringing hope to my constituents and others in Northern Ireland.
;Helicopters that could carry tons of cargo and drop it on a specific point. The DARD Minister has taken away that hope and relief and it will mean the deaths of even more livestock.”