Farmers stage protest over CAP reform

Irish Farmers’ Association says future of sector will be determined in Luxembourg

More than 100 farmers protested outside the Department of Agriculture yesterday, calling on minister Simon Coveney to secure a deal that supports Irish farmers.

Mon, Jun 24, 2013, 17:45

More than 100 farmers protested outside the Department of Agriculture today, calling on minister Simon Coveney to secure a deal that supports Irish farmers.

The protest took place as talk on Common Agricultural Policy resumes in Luxembourg. Irish Farmers’ Association president John Bryan is attending the talks, while vice-president Eddie Downey addressed protestors.

“This week is the defining time for minister Coveney’s term in office. The future prospects for the sector will be determined by the decisions made in Luxembourg,” he said.

“The minister simply cannot allow a deal that will devastate productive agriculture. A mandatory minimum payment would destroy the minister’s own approximation model and lead to a level of redistribution that would be hugely damaging to Irish agriculture.

“As it stands, many farmers are facing significant cuts. The minister’s primary focus must be on defending Irish farmers and refusing to accept a deal that could disrupt productive agriculture even more.”

During the demonstration, a number of farmers were joined by their livestock, with a bull, sheep and cow amongst protestors on Kildare Street.

Farm Families committee member Sally Long said that potential cuts to the agricultural sector will have lasting effects on the country as a whole.

“Farm families are suffering throughout Ireland. If the farming is going bad, the whole of Ireland suffers. There is a lot of poverty and mental health (issues)out there. It’s really getting to the core of the countryside,” she said.

“We really need to give every support we can to the Fair Deal (scheme). It’s all we’ve got”

Sheep farmer Philip Maguire was one of the protestors to bring one of his animals to the demonstration. He said cuts would especially affect smaller farmers in rural areas.

“These cuts have the potential to hit most farmers across the country, so it’s important to be here and be represented.”