LOOKING heavenward in anguish after the near fatal blows of the BSE crisis and foot-and-mouth disease, Fermanagh’s farmers will have received little relief in the past few months from being pelted in the face by record rainfalls which threaten their livelihood even further.

The county has endured 70 per cent more rain so far this year than by the same time last year, and one prediction this week saw little real sunlight at the end of the rainy tunnel until much later into the summer.

Fermanagh’s two biggest industries - farming and tourism - have been hit particularly hard, with the incessant rain limiting outdoor work for the farmers and outdoor activities for the tourists.

In Fermanagh we were pelted with 163.8mm of rain during the month of May, a huge increase from the 60.9mms we put up with in May, 2001. Incredibly this year’s May rainfall was more than three times the monthly average taken over the last 14 years. We have not fared much better in June, having already endured almost 100mms of rain, easily eclipsing last year’s total June rainfall - 64.6mms - and there’s another 10 days to go.

Farmers have been facing a range of trials and tribulations as a result of the bad weather. By the end of May. the first cut of silage would normally be completed, but thus year many fields remain unharvested, just too boggy to allow access to heavy machinery.