Furious farmers are driving up to Dublin for a tractor protest this Sunday afternoon.
The Irish Farmers' Association launched its ‘Save Irish Farming’ campaign earlier this year because of concerns about targets to reduce emissions and funding reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy - all of which have left them “very worried” about the future.
IFA President Tim Cullinan told Newstalk:
“It’s because of complete frustration with our government. Our farmers are very, very concerned.
“Obviously, around climate we know now that we’ve been given a figure of a 22% reduction in emissions but… we’re not certain whether it will be a 22% or 30% [reduction].
“So that’s very concerning for farmers. Farmers are very worried.”
An early morning start for Mayo as they leave for the #SaveIrishFarming Convoy in Dublin tomorrow. Christopher Murphy, Calum Murray and Rory Delaney with County Chair Jarlath Walsh. pic.twitter.com/UAyvCeoZmt
— Irish Farmers' Association (@IFAmedia) November 20, 2021
However, speaking to On The Record with Gavan Reilly, Minister McConalogue said that tackling climate change was something the sector could not opt out of:
“The objective here is to reduce emissions, not to reduce the food that we produce.
“We’re very fortunate in terms of the fact that the agricultural model we have nationally is one of the most sustainable food producing systems in the world being grass based, being pasture based.
“So we’re already very, very sustainable in terms of the food we produce.
“But of course like every other sector in society we have to further reduce those emissions over the next number of years and that is possible to do.”
Common Agricultural Policy
The other concern is reforms to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy; Ireland’s Strategic CAP Plan must be submitted to the EU by 1st January 2022 and will be operational by 2023.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue travelled across Ireland meeting farmers on a ‘consultation tour’ in September. However, Mr Cullinan said his members are particularly concerned about proposed changes to funding:
“We are very disappointed with the proposals that our minister has come forward with - in particular around Pillar 2 and the National Co-Financing,” Mr Cullinan said.
“[There’s] definitely not enough funding there to keep farmers viable in rural Ireland and protect the social side of rural Ireland and the rural economy.”
— John Murphy (@BoilerMurphy) November 19, 2021
IFA began organising protests in towns across the country in June. Today’s event has been scaled back because of COVID but around 100 farmers are expected to make it to the capital.
Protestors will meet first at IFA headquarters in Dublin 12, before moving in convoy to Merrion Square for 1pm.
Main image: Farmers protest in Dublin in June 2021. Picture by: PA.