Pig farmers in the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) will protest at Agriculture House – the head offices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – on Kildare Street in Dublin next week.

A message from IFA pig committee chairperson Roy Gallie circulated to members last night (Thursday, March 24) said: “The time for action on Kildare Street is now.”

Agriculture House is a mere two-minute walk from Leinster House.

The IFA will raise the issue of the exit of pig farmers from the sector due to enormous financial losses.

The association is set to demand financial support in the amount of €100 million from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

Exact details of the protest on Tuesday (March 29) are set to be confirmed over the weekend, but a time of 11:00a.m has been put forward.

“Some say [action] is well overdue; however I am calling on all the pig industry to meet outside Agriculture House next Tuesday morning,” Gallie said.

The decision to protest comes after IFA members raised this issue with the minister when he attended a meeting of Cavan IFA yesterday.

“The Minister for Agriculture was left in absolutely no doubt yet again today of the exit from pig farming that is currently underway.

“He must come to our aid if he wants pig farming to survive in Ireland. We need a huge show of solidarity, strength and numbers on Tuesday to impress on him and TDs that he and they must introduce the IFA rescue package without delay,” Gallie said, referring to the association’s Pig Stability Fund proposal.

“Every day that goes by means more farmers make that decision to exit the business,” he stressed.

He also highlighted the role of factories.

“It is equally incumbent on the processors to raise the price of pigs for the same reasons.

“The days are numbered for all of us unless both [government and processors] take their responsibility to the sector as a matter of grave urgency,” the IFA pig chair argued.

Gallie’s message to IFA members concluded: “For now, plan to be in Dublin Tuesday and for however long it takes to get a satisfactory outcome.”