Farmers to sleep in tractors as beef prices protest continues in Dublin


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

19.00 15 Jan 2020


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Demonstrating farmers are preparing to sleep in their tractors, as their protest over beef prices continues in Dublin city centre.

Over 100 farmers descended on Merrion Square and St Stephen's Green earlier, with scores of tractors blocking several routes.

The protestors are demanding a better price for their cattle to secure the future of their livelihoods.

The protest involving hundreds of farmers is expected to last two days.

The 'Individual Farmers of Ireland' said the ‘tractorcade’ is part of their campaign over beef prices, carbon tax and other issues.

In November, the Individual Farmers of Ireland organised for more than 300 tractors to descend on the capital, leading to 24-hours of significant disruption in the city.

Talks

Last Thursday, a meeting of the Beef Taskforce saw supermarket retailers meet farming organisations to try to resolve the dispute.

However, the 'Individual Farmers of Ireland' group is unhappy with the progress made.

Tractors gathered in Merrion Square from 2.00pm on Wednesday afternoon, and the demonstrators made their way to Leinster House.

Rural Ireland

These farmers said the demonstration is all about protecting rural Ireland.

"If farming is not going well, then the local small towns disappear and our post offices disappear," said one.

"It is a disaster. It is going to be non-existent if it continues the way it is going. The market prices over in Europe are ten times better than what we are getting here in Ireland."

 

The protest has led to delays on the N2, N3, N4, N7 and N81 and roads were closed earlier on:

  • Kildare Street
  • Molesworth Street
  • St Stephen's Green South
  • Merrion Square West/South/East
  • Merrion Street Upper

Bus corridors were not expected to be impacted and Gardaí advised commuters to use public transport where possible.

There were also some diversions in place, such as eastbound traffic on Kevin Street - which was diverted up New Bride Street.

"Critical"

Despite the disruption, farmers say they have to get their point across.

"We have to draw attention to just how critical it is," said one.

"Lads are not driving five and six hours in tractors at their own expense and wear and tear up to Dublin through traffic just for the fun of it."

Organiser Daniel Long said they have strong support, even though the Dáil was dissolved yesterday.

He argued: "[People] are coming from all corners of the country.

"There's tractors coming, there's people on foot... rural people in general are coming to the city. Hopefully, the more that come, maybe the louder the voice will be - and maybe we'll be heard this time."

Unofficial

However, the main farming organisations are not supporting the rally.

Edmond Phelan, of the ICSA, explained: "The point has been made - you can't just keep protesting and driving tractors around Dublin... people of Dublin aren't at fault.

"At this stage, I would prefer to see maybe just a normal protest outside the Dáil, and leave the tractors at home."

Additional reporting: Jack Quann

Main image: File photo, RollingNews.ie

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