Around 300 farmers have already gathered in Cavan this morning (Friday, October 8) as part of a day-long series of rallies organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) to urge the government to secure the future of farming.
Further rallies are planned for Roscommon later this morning, followed by Laois and Cork later in the afternoon and evening.
The IFA has said that the government would be making “a massive strategic mistake” if farmers are forced to cut production to meet climate targets.
Farmers in Cavan have arrived with tractors, trailers, banners and placards in tow.
Future for farming
The association, supported by other farmer representatives, is looking to negotiate a plan at farm level with the government that safeguards the viability of farming.
President of the IFA, Tim Cullinan said: “Whether it’s the shape of the next CAP [Common Agricultural Policy], carbon budgeting or sectoral emissions ceilings, it’s time Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stood up to the Greens.
“Their ideological opposition to the grass-based farming we have in this country must be challenged.”
Cullinan added that farmers have been “unfairly targeted” in the climate debate stating that there is “little or no consideration” given to the role farmers play in climate action, and in sequestering carbon in particular.
“Now they tell us that when they are able to count the carbon farmers are removing from the atmosphere, the state is planning to steal those carbon credits,” Cullinan continued
“Those who want to regulate farmers out of business refuse to acknowledge that there will be carbon leakage from reducing production in Ireland.”
Global food demand
“The global population is due to increase from 7.5 billion to 10 billion by 2050. If food is not produced in Ireland, it will have to be produced in other countries with a higher carbon footprint,” Cullinan continued.
The IFA president said economic and social considerations have to come into play when deciding on the future of the economy.
“The government partners have not woken up to the economic and social consequences of Green Party demands for their utopian version of urban society,” Cullinan said.
“Our farming and food sector is the cornerstone of the rural economy, and serves as an important counterpoint to development in cities and urban areas.”
He said farmers would not accept a decision to push them aside when they have a valuable contribution to make.
The rallies will take place at the following times today, Friday, October 8:
- Cavan (7:00a.m);
- Roscommon (11:00a.m);
- Portlaoise (4:00p.m);
- Cork city (8:00p.m).
Last night, IFA members issued a warning that there is potential for major traffic disruption as a result of today’s protest rallies.
Farmers have not ruled out taking their protest to Dublin city in the future, if they feel they are not being listened to by the government.
Additional reporting by Breifne O’Brien