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Final straw Farmers warn of further Dublin protests if Government does not engage with them

'Farmers are being asked to do more and more for less'

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Farmers at the IFA rally on Merrion Square in Dublin today.

Farmers at the IFA rally on Merrion Square in Dublin today.

Farmers at the IFA rally on Merrion Square in Dublin today.

Over 100 farmers drove tractors and agricultural machinery into Dublin city centre today and warned they will return if the Taoiseach does not engage with them.

The rally, ‘Save Irish Farming' which was organised by IFA, saw farmers set out from as far as Cork and Donegal over the weekend to assemble on Merrion Square where IFA President Tim Cullinan said every policy of the Government, including their proposed National Strategic Plan to implement the Common Agricultural Policy, is designed to reduce production.

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Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

"Farmers are being asked to do more and more for less," he said and warned that if the Taoiseach Micheal Martin does not call the IFA to sit down and discuss a plan for the sector.

In relation to climate change challenges, Cullinan said "We are hearing we are part of the solution and we have to question the commitment from our Government around that. It is very easy for Government to say you are part of the solution, but what are they going to do for us?"

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Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

 

"Farmers are very conscious of the climate challenge, and farmers want to play their part. But this Government has no plan. Farmers are being talked at, rather than talked to.

The Government needs to provide more funding, including a properly-funded Common Agricultural Policy, to ensure that farmers can take on the climate challenge while remaining viable," he said.

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Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gearoid Buckley (6) at the IFA HQ before making his way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

"The reality is that if food is not produced in Ireland, it will be produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint such as Brazil, where it was reported this week that 13,235 square kilometres of rainforest were cleared in 2020/2021."

"Currently, only 30% of farmers in Ireland are viable, and the Government's policies will make more family farms unviable," he said.

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Farmer Kayleigh Hand at the IFA HQ before making her way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Farmer Kayleigh Hand at the IFA HQ before making her way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Farmer Kayleigh Hand at the IFA HQ before making her way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

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Farmers in their tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Farmers in their tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Farmers in their tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

“The farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country, and we contributed €13bn in exports in 2020. We will not be ignored or pushed aside," said the IFA President.

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Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Des O'Carroll (6) waves to the tractors as they make their way in convoy towards Dublin City Centre. Picture; Gerry Mooney

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Recent modelling shows that re-distribution of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds will see the majority of farmers (58pc) benefit, with those in the west of the country benefitting the most.

The rally was not supported by other farming organisations, with the Irish Beef and Lamb Association, calling for farmers to not support it, but former IFA Presidents including Tom Parlon, Eddie Downey and Tom Clinton were out supporting the rally.

IFA had planned a family farm rally but changed its plans in light of rising Covid numbers to hold a tractor rally in the capital, after it held a number of rural rallies in recent weeks.
 

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