Huge convoy of furious farmers paralyse Dublin – anger at EU rules strangling business

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Led by the Irish Farmers’ Association President Tim Cullinan, the convoy of tractors and farm vehicles arrived in the city at around lunchtime on Sunday. The convoy replaced the originally planned “Farm Family Rally”, which was modified due to the rising Covid figures.

In a statement on the official IFA website, Mr Cullinan said: “Every policy of this Government, including their proposed National Strategic Plan to implement the Common Agricultural Policy, is designed to reduce production.

“Farmers are being asked to do more and more for less.

“We have consistently called for genuine engagement and negotiation with farm organisations to develop a farm-level plan that farmers can work towards achieving. To date, nothing has been forthcoming.

“All farmers have received is empty rhetoric and lofty targets with nothing to back them up.

“Uncertainty is detrimental for any business; farming is no different.

“Farmers are reaching the end of their tether.

“Farmers are very conscious of the climate challenge, and farmers want to play their part. But this Government has no plan.

“Farmers are being talked at, rather than talked to.

“The Government needs to provide more funding, including a properly-funded Common Agricultural Policy, to ensure that farmers can take on the climate challenge while remaining viable.”

The Common Agricultural Policy is the EU policy to provide financial support to farmers in its member states.

The aim is to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and ensuring the optimum use of the factors of production, including labour.

However, Mr Cullinan argued only 30 percent of farmers across the Republic of Ireland are viable and the government’s policies will render more family farms “unviable”.

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He continued: “The farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country, and we contributed €13bn in exports in 2020.

“We will not be ignored or pushed aside.

“The reality is that if food is not produced in Ireland, it will be produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint such as Brazil, where it was reported this week that 13,235 square kilometres of rainforest were cleared in 2020/2021.

“Farming is a business activity, and farmers will not stay at it unless they can make a profit and make a living for their families.”

The farming sector across Ireland provides between 10 percent and 14 percent of employment.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “The objective here is to reduce emissions, not to reduce the food we produce.

“We’re very fortunate in terms of the fact that the agriculture model we have nationally is one of the most sustainable food-producing systems in the world, being grass-based, pasture-based.”

The European Parliament is set to give the final green light to a deal struck on the new legislative framework between the Parliament and Council in June this year.

The EU Parliament website reads: “The three new EU laws aim to align the Common Agricultural Policy with the EU’s environmental and climate commitments.

“A fairer system, especially towards small and medium-sized farms and young farmers, as well as flexibility in the use of EU support and more transparency are further objectives of the reform.”

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