It should be clear to the Government that “anger is building amongst farmers on the ground” following a number of rallies around the country on Friday, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.
Regional rallies organised by the IFA took place in Roscommon, Laois, Cork and Cavan for farmers to highlight their concerns over CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) reform and other issues affecting their sector.
The urgency behind the hastily convened protests was driven by the imminent recommendations of the Climate Change Advisory Council to the Government, and fears among farmers that the imposition of carbon ceilings could undermine the viability of their farms.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said on Saturday “the clear message” from the thousands who turned out is that farmers are “frustrated and angry at the way they are being treated by our Government”.
“Farmers won’t accept being offered up as a sacrificial lamb to the Green Party to keep the Government in office,” he said.
“Farmers feel that our Government wants to regulate them out of business. Every policy, including those on climate action, CAP and the Nitrates Action Plan, is designed to reduce production.”
Mr Cullinan added that farm families are being subjected to policies “driven by regulation, restriction and reduction without any heed to its impact on farm family income and overall economic impact”.
“Farmers are aware of climate action and are willing to play their part,” he added. “Farmers cannot understand why our Government flatly refuse to sit down with their elected leaders to make a plan for the sector that will allay their concerns and give them confidence that there is a long-term future for farming.
“If there’s a forum for employers and unions on the future of the economy, there’s no reason why there cannot be one for farming,” he said.