Rally brings 20,000 into city on 'Day of Action'
Some placards called for regulation of supermarkets, with one highlighting the small margin provided to pig producers. And someone took the opportunity to highlight health cuts with a banner that read: “Save our ambulance service in west Cork”.
The crowd began to disperse at 2.45pm. Supt Joe Gannon from Pearse Street Garda station said an estimated 20,000 had attended, based on the fact that the crowd filled Kildare Street and spilled over into Molesworth Street.
The last big farmers’ demonstration was in 1998, when some 40,000 farmers marched from Phoenix Park to the city centre.
AA Roadwatch said restrictions were lifted by 4pm and traffic was normal before rush hour.
FARMING TODAY: EAR TO THE GROUND
Cullen, Co Tipperary
“We are after a very, very tough year and with expenses and everything else we just can’t afford any more cuts.”
She is a dairy farmer and said it would be “very serious” if the proposed changes to Cap came in. “We’re only barely struggling as it is.” One of her four children is interested in farming “although he says farming is the fastest way of all to dry up your money”.
Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim
“Two busloads came up for it.”
He says the proposed changes to the single farm payment encouraged him to attend the demonstration.
“My income would be halved if they brought in these changes to Cap,” he adds.
“To be sure we are worried about the budget too. There’s not many in the country not worried about it.”
Clonroche, Co Wexford
“I’m here to safeguard our entitlements for the future. We don’t want any more cuts. We can’t live without the single farm payment . That’s most of our profit – all our profit really.”
He says it was a very tough harvest and his yield of malting barley was back by one tonne. “The only thing saved us was that the price was a bit better.”
Laragh, Co Cavan
There should be more to support young farmers. “In 2008 the installation aid and early retirement schemes were taken away.”
He hopes to take over the family farm. “But there’s not enough income to support two families . . . I’ll probably have to look for some sort of a job so that’s why I’m in education.”
Stradone, Co Cavan
He says it is crucial to protect the €1.6 billion coming to Ireland every year in the form of Common Agricultural Policy payments.
The dairy and beef farmer says farming is productive and any cuts would have a negative impact on the whole economy. “Plus we also want to tackle the supermarket dominance . . . Look at a litre of milk – only 30 cent goes to the farmer.”