IFA going ahead with cabinet protest after venue change

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has confirmed that it will go ahead with its planned protest tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1, at a meeting of the cabinet, after the venue of the meeting was changed.

The meeting was originally set for Blackrock Castle in Cork city; this has now been changed to Cork City Hall.

The reason for the change of venue has not been revealed.

IFA president Joe Healy confirmed that the association would continue with its plans for protest.

“The Government can run, but it can’t hide,” claimed Healy, adding: “We’ll be at city hall tomorrow with the main rally timed for 10:30am.”

The purpose of the protest is to call on the Government to provide a “Brexit support package” for the beef sector, after the IFA’s estimates found that farmers had already incurred losses of over €100 million in beef price cuts because of Brexit.

“Beef farmers need a Brexit support package, and we will be sending a strong message to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his cabinet tomorrow. They can have the meeting wherever they like. We’ll be there,” claimed Healy.

Retrospective aid package

Speaking last week, when the protest was announced, Healy said: “Farmers need a retrospective aid package to cover losses of €101 million Brexit-related beef price cuts.”

He also claimed that Government commitments to support the sector had “amounted to nothing so far”.

Angus Woods, the IFA’s livestock chairman, echoed Healy’s points.

“Minister Creed needs to make the beef issue and the Brexit losses his priority. We have met with the officials in the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission, and they accept that Irish beef farmers have incurred significant Brexit losses,” argued Woods.