Hill farmers are to march on Castlebar in protest next week following months unrest over the Department of Agriculture’s implementation of the new GLAS scheme.

The Hill Farmers for Action group took the decision last night at an executive meeting. The Group which are calling the protest a ‘march for fairness’. It says it will take place in Castlebar on Friday, December 5. The route is yet to be confirmed but the organisers have confirmed the march is to finish up at Taoiseach Enda Kennys office.

Commonage farmers have given the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, until December 1 to respond to their request for a meeting following a meeting of almost 1,000 commonage farmers last week in Maam Cross, with speakers including Marian Harkin, Matt Carthy, Eamon O’Cuiv, Sean Kyne and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan on the night.

The Hill farmers for Action group have said that the GLAS application system that will effectively restrict access to commonage farmers by imposing unnecessary hurdles.

The group previously held an extensive picket outside the Taoiseach’s office in Castlebar some months ago and has also held a number of large public meetings over the issue.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said in recent weeks he has listened to the concerns of commonage farmers and has altered his proposals significantly to address them.

He said he listened very carefully to the concerns of commonage farmers and recognises that these concerns are real.

The Minister stated that over the course of the consultation process on the Rural Development Programme the Department have adapted and rebalanced our proposals for commonages quite significantly in the light of those concerns.