The recently formed  Hill Farming Action Group is to host a public meeting in the Maritime Hotel, Bantry on Monday next, September 15. Events get underway at 8.30pm.

According to the man organising the event, Michael Dunne – from Beara in West Cork – hill farmers in the South West are not yet fully aware of the ways in which they have been disadvantaged, courtesy of the new Rural Development Programme.

“Hence the importance of next Monday’s meeting. It’s also worth pointing out that the same problems identified for commonage farmers are also confronting those hill farmers on private land,” he added.

“So it’s in the interest of all farmers working in the less favoured areas to get along to Bantry next Monday.”

The main speakers at the event will be Colm O’Donnell and Brendan Joyce, from Sligo and Galway respectively, who have been instrumental in getting the protest group off the ground.  It is envisaged that politicians, farmers and public representatives from Counties Cork, Kerry Tipperary and Waterford will attend next Monday’s meeting.  Also present will be Éamon Ó Cuív and Luke Ming Flanagan.

Michael Dunne is the Chairman of Beara IFA Group. While confirming that representatives of the IFA had not been specifically invited to next Monday’s meeting, he stressed the ‘open nature’ of the event.

“Everyone will be made more than welcome on the evening and all views will be accommodated. Part of the problem is that lowland farmers have no real grasp of the annoyance felt by their hill colleagues with regard to the Pillar 2 proposals that have been submitted to Brussels.

“We were told at the time of the Pillar 1 deal that the glaring disadvantages built into that arrangement for hill farmers would be put right, once it came to settling on the support measures contained within the new Rural Development Programme. This has turned out not to be the case. However, the Hill farming Action Group will keep up its protest until this crucially important matter has been fully resolved.”