‘Individuals acting on own initiative’: Protester group reps temper tractor talk

The Independent Farmers of Ireland national representatives have moved to temper comments from members of their organisation regarding a tractor protest in Dublin this week, stressing that farmers taking part in this demonstration will be acting as individuals rather than under the banner of the group.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the national representatives said:

“A suggestion has been put forward by a number of independent farmers on the factory gates to organise a tractor blockade culminating in Dublin,” the statement said.

This in an indication of the widespread frustration felt among members of the farming community after the withdrawal of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) from talks on Backweston yesterday.

The spokesperson noted that everyone arrived for talks yesterday, Monday, September 10, “only to have the rug pulled from under their feet by the processors”.

The national representatives noted Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s calls for calm and appeals for MII to return to the negotiating table.

“His position is clear, he cannot compel any business to attend against their will; he can merely recommend but he has emphasised how important this is,” the statement noted.

Alison De Vere Hunt, Maggie Delahunty and Ger Gough, the three representatives for the Independent Farmers of Ireland, met Minister Creed last week and chairman of the talks Michael Dowling twice yesterday in relation to attending round-table talks.

The statement from the representatives said that everything appeared yesterday morning that the groundwork had been laid to allow for a successful meeting.

However, MII’s actions have blindsided all the farming organisations and the work they have put in to try and bring this crisis to a close.

As a result, the representatives believe “this is not the time for a knee-jerk reaction but a time for closer ties between all organisations”.

Their statement added: “While we applaud the initiative of the people who wish to speed up this process, we feel that a convoy of tractors blockading Dublin and upsetting the general public in their day-to-day activities at this crucial time would be counterproductive.

“This is the widespread feeling among the majority of peaceful protesters,” the statement added

However, if people feel they need to proceed in this manner, it will be individuals acting on their own initiative rather than any group.

“These peaceful protests have always been made up of independent men and women who are responsible for their own actions.

“They have made this decision locally, not nationally – so any protests will be local actions; not national ones.

“Each area has to act as they see fit in the present situation.

Much work is being done behind the scenes to restart the talks in order to save the industry that has proved so invaluable to Ireland.

“Hopefully, the next few days will make this clear to all concerned,” the spokesperson’s statement concluded.