Led by the chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Tim Cullinan, the convoy of tractors and agricultural vehicles arrived in town around lunchtime on Sunday. The convoy replaced the originally planned “Farm Family Rally”, which was modified due to rising Covid numbers.
In a statement on the official IFA website, Mr Cullinan said: “Every policy of this administration, including their proposed national strategic plan to implement the Common Agricultural Policy, is designed to reduce production.
“Farmers are increasingly being asked for less.
“We have consistently called for genuine engagement and negotiations with farmers’ organizations to develop a farm-level plan for farmers to work towards. To date nothing has come out.
“All the peasants have received is empty rhetoric and lofty goals with nothing to back them up.
“Uncertainty is detrimental to any business; farming is no different.
“Farmers are at the end of their rope.
“Farmers are very aware of the climate challenge and farmers want to do their part. But this government has no plan.
“People are talking to farmers instead of to.
He continued: “The agricultural and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country, and we contributed 13 billion euros in exports in 2020.
“We will not be ignored or pushed aside.
“The reality is that if food isn’t 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 kilometers of rainforest will have been cleared by 2020/2021.
“Agriculture is a business activity and farmers will not stick with it unless they can make a profit and earn a living for their families.”
The agricultural sector across Ireland provides between 10 and 14 percent of employment.
Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue said: “The goal here is to reduce emissions, not to reduce the food we produce.
“We are very lucky that the agricultural model we have at the national level is one of the most sustainable food-producing systems in the world, namely on grass and pasture.”
The European Parliament will give the final green light for an agreement on the new legislative framework between Parliament and the Council in June this year.
The EU Parliament’s website states: “The three new EU laws aim to align the common agricultural policy with the EU’s environmental and climate commitments.
“A fairer system, especially for small and medium-sized farms and young farmers, as well as flexibility in the use of EU aid and greater transparency are further objectives of the reform.”