Beef Plan stages protest outside Dáil over ‘attack’ on rural Ireland

More than 2,000 farmers and rural dwellers have descended on the gates outside Leinster House in a rally aimed at highlighting “an attack” on Ireland’s family-farm model.

The rally, which kicked off today, Wednesday, July 10, at 12:00pm, has been organised by the Beef Plan Movement with busloads of supporters travelling from each province.

The organisers say the purpose of the protest is to highlight the “grave concerns” that rural and farming communities have about the future of the family-farm model – particularly in light of the political agreement being reached on the draft EU-Mercosur trade deal.

Many of the protestors turned up wearing wellingtons as a symbol of solidarity.

beef plan protest

In a statement, the organisers said: “The past year has seen unprecedented levels of loss making across beef farms in Ireland and this loss making has subsequently continued into 2019 with the continued decline in beef and lamb prices across the summer months.

“This decline is unsustainable for both beef and lamb industries. However, at the retailer level, these lower prices have not been reflected in households across Ireland and Europe.

“Primary producers are operating unviable and unsustainable farm business models. In 2018, average cattle rearing incomes were €8,300 which is unsustainable.”

On the draft EU-Mercosur deal the organisers said: “The way in which this deal has been presented to the European Commission makes the task of challenging it more difficult which is also a point we would welcome a statement on to clarify why this option was taken.

“It is our understanding that Ireland alone cannot prevent this deal from being approved by the EU commission and we will need the support of other nations.

“The first point we want clarity on is when we can expect to see how Ireland intends to vote,” the group concluded.