The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said that it will hold a “nationwide rally” on Friday of this week (June 11) to “highlight the importance of commercial farming to the rural economy”.

The demonstration will be the first by the IFA since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The actions will take place in the county towns of various counties around the country.

The purpose of the demonstration is, according to the IFA, to warn against the dangers in the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform proposals and the Climate Action Bill.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said: “The county towns that we will visit on Friday rely heavily on our sector. Any reduction in activity in agriculture will hit them hard.”

Cullinan met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin last week, where he claimed that the “current direction of CAP and the government’s Climate Action Bill could shut down commercial farming in Ireland”.

Commenting on the upcoming demonstrations, Cullinan said: “We will be making a strong statement across the country on Friday that policies must support our largest indigenous industry.

“A cohort of farmers, many of whom are the most productive farmers, are being hit with huge cuts under CAP.

“In addition, the Climate Bill; the subsequent carbon budgets; and sectoral targets could result in huge additional regulation being imposed on the same group of farmers,” the IFA president argued.

He went on to claim that the approximately one-third of farms that are considered ‘viable’ (according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey) were “being targeted” by these policies and would be made unviable.

“The Programme for Government and the Climate Bill refers to taking account of the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane in setting climate budgets. Yet it appears that the government now wants to walk away from this commitment,” Cullinan argued.

He concluded: “Farmers want to work with the government on climate action, but there has to be real engagement. Setting targets without any regard for the consequences won’t work.”