The Rural Ireland Organisation (RIO) will hold a day of action including protests throughout the country to address fuel prices and turf cutting among other issues.

Protests are planned in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The main protest in the capital will commence at 1:00p.m from the Garden of Remembrance and will proceed to the Dáil.

The day of action will be held by the RIO and its coalition partners Sinn Fein, People Before Profit, independent politicians and several groups and organisations.

RIO leader, Gerry Loftus said this is an opportunity for people to have their voices heard on the “out-of-control cost of living”. He said:

“Families are crippled with the cost of food; electricity; diesel; and petrol because successive governments have failed to recognise climate change, and the transition that should have been taking place over the past 25 years.

“We have failed to transition away from industrial agriculture and develop sustainable food systems to feed our people. Instead, we spend €9 billion per year on imported food, adding huge costs to the consumer,” according to Loftus.

Electricity and fuel

The RIO leader added that local electricity supply is critical for the future of the people in Ireland.

The organisation demands the government to put systems in place to allow people, in both urban and rural Ireland, to develop their own electricity supply for their own communities.

Families in rural Ireland are severely affected by the high cost of fuel, however, Loftus said, they have no choice as there is “next to no public-transport system in rural Ireland”.

“The government needs to get serious about developing free public transport to service rural Ireland and the cities, as well as the development of the rail infrastructure.

“It is only by doing this that it will be possible to greatly reduce the number of cars on our roads. Ireland is just so far behind on all this,” the RIO leader said.

Turf cutting

The issue of turf cutting will also be a major focus, according to Loftus who called for support of small and medium-sized farmers and the right to cut and burn turf in people’s homes.

He raised concerns that without recognition of turbary rights under EU regulation in 2024/2025, “turf cutting is over”.

Addressing farmers who utilise peat soils, the ROI leader said Ireland’s peatlands are set to be used as “carbon mop-up areas for industry, without realistic landowner consultation”.

He also criticised that there is no proposed indefinite payment, or a plan on how to keep communities alive.