Farmers occupy Department of Agriculture over grain compensation

They have spent five nights camping out in Dublin

Farmers occupy Department of Agriculture over grain compensation

A combine harvester is used in the protest | Image: Gail Conway

Four farmers occupying the Department of Agriculture in Dublin say they will stay there until they get an agreement from Government on compensation for grain farmers.

They are protesting against attempts to place a cap on the crisis fund for grain farmers who lost crops due to bad weather in 2016.

They have spent five nights camping out at the department and say they will not go until they get a deal following ten months of meetings and negotiations.

IFA President Joe Healy gave an impassioned speech to farmers who had travelled to Dublin from all over the country in support of the four farmers who have occupied the buildings on Kildare Street.

He is determined they will remain on site until they get an agreement - and will not meet officials again unless the deal is agreed to compensate grain farmer who suffered up to 800% loss of income.

"The resolve here has strengthened every night since last Wednesday night, and there's no way we're leaving.

"I suppose you could call it the perfect storm last year: bad prices but no crop and bad weather.

"We can't and we won't go away without achieving for them", he said.

Liam Dunne, chairman of the IFA Grain Committee, explains the scale of what they are looking for.

"The amounts of money that are involved are quite small - the overall budget is not more than one and a half to two million euro, which in department terms is relatively small.

"The amount of crop that people lost due to very bad weather in September, in a relatively small area of the country, was quite significant".