Farm lobby group to protest at Stormont

Farming lobby group Farmers For Action (FFA) is calling for farmers to take to Stormont to urge Northern Ireland’s politicians back to work.

The group compared the situation to the fuel strike of 2000.

William Taylor, FFA’s NI co-ordinator, said: “FFA members are no different than more than 90% of the Northern Ireland population in that they are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of Government at Stormont.

No responsibility of office is being taken and progress for Northern Ireland is at a standstill – not to mention the massive void at the Brexit table.

‘Pushing patience too far’

Taylor added: “It’s clear that the Northern Ireland politicians are on the edge of having pushed the patience of the people of Northern Ireland too far.

“Farmers For Action’s message to the politicians who are not willing to get back to work is that they are leaving Northern Ireland in a similar position to the point reached with the fuel strike in 2000 whereby the politicians pushed the people too far, in that case on fuel tax.

“Some of the leaders of the fuel strike later set up Farmers For Action, including our chairman David Handley.”

A date for the protest has not yet been set; however, the group welcomes others to join them once plans are finalised.

Eight policy decisions within Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) continue to await ministerial sign-off because of the Stormont stalemate.

Ulster Farmers’ Union members speaking at the 2015 protest

The stalemate has halted any progress on aid for flood-stricken farmers and also leaves key decisions regarding the department’s education programmes unmade.

Hundreds of people attended a Stormont protest in 2015 against unfair prices for agricultural produce.