The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Francie Gorman, has called on the organisation’s members to continue its demonstrations over the coming weeks.

Gorman was speaking after a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday (Thursday, February 22), in which an IFA delegation raised a number of issues.

According to Gorman, the recent actions by the IFA – which included a show of solidarity with farmers protesting in various parts of the EU, as well as demonstrations at some county council meetings – have been noticed by the Taoiseach.

“I’ve just come out from a meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. It’s quite clear that the actions taken by our members on the ground over the last month have not gone unnoticed.

“The frustrations of farmers around the way the nitrates derogation was handled; late payments; immediate supports for the tillage sector; and ash dieback were top of the agenda for us,” Gorman said.

The IFA president added: “Issues around a VAT refund, work permits, and the [Residential Zoned Land Tax] were also raised.”

Gorman said, with local and European elections set to take place in the summer, that IFA members should continue their demonstrations.

“It was the clear message to the Taoiseach that we need immediate delivery on these issues and the message to our own members on the ground is keep up the actions over the the next number of weeks in the lead up to the elections,” he said.

The IFA’s current phase of demonstrations and actions is part of a campaign it is calling ‘Enough is Enough’, which was announced by Gorman last week.

The first action of that campaign was a demonstration by IFA members in Co. Longford at a county council meeting there.

IFA members also addressed the county council members to highlight their issues.

Longford IFA chair John Sheridan told Agriland that farmers are very frustrated about delays to scheme payments, including the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES).

Sheridan also said that farmers are unhappy about being constantly blamed for climate change.

He said that the European Union must provide additional money for environmental actions carried out by farmers, separate from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).