At a meeting last Monday with FF’s Michael Martin, ICMSA President John Comer was again critical of the lack of focus and expertise being displayed by all parties in their policies on farming and rural development.

“There are no signs whatsoever that any party understands the problems facing farming.

“There was no sign that the parties even understood the questions – much less had any solid and realistic answers,” Comer said.

“All we are getting is very generalised proposals with little or no detail on how we restore farm income”, he said.


ICMSA President John Comer.

Comer also said that it is obvious that the separation between rural and urban Ireland is becoming a decisive issue, as the State seems to have withdrawn from large areas of the country.

A whole range of services that took a century to roll out to every corner of the country have disappeared within a decade: post, policing, district courts, schools, veterinary, departmental offices, banking, the ICMSA President said.

“It has happened under successive governments but people all across the rural parts of Ireland feel that the state is somehow retreating back into the cities and large towns.

But this is a republic and people living in Roscommon, Kerry or any other county are citizens in the same way as those living in Mount Merrion or Ranelagh and with the same rights.

“People living in rural Ireland don’t feel that the State accepts that; they feel that they’re treated in a measurably inferior fashion to their urban or suburban counterparts and, in my opinion, that suspicion is absolutely correct”, the ICMSA President said.