Convoy of 15,000 farmers march on Dail in subsidy protest – National News – Independent.ie
UP to 15,000 farmers have marched through Dublin demanding that the Government take a hard line in negotiations on the next round of European subsidies.
John Bryan, IFA president, said failure to return the €1.6 billion package would be bad for the industry and undermine the viability of the most productive farmers.
“The next two months will see decisions taken in Brussels and by our Government that will have a huge bearing on the ability of the sector to survive and grow. Farming can help deliver recovery and jobs but only with the right policies and supports,” he said.
“Farm output will drop and the raw material for our ambitious growth plans will not be available if the EU Commission gets its way.”
A convoy of farming vehicles and tractors drove down Kildare Street as thousands of farmers flooded the narrow street.
A Garda spokesman estimated that around 15,000 people took part in the march, along with about six tractors, a combine harvester, a dairy truck and large digger.
“The weather this year was so bad so a lot of us really suffered during the harvest. The Government can’t guarantee us good weather, but it can guarantee us our payments,” said Mr Byrne.
Mary Mullane, who runs a family farm in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, said rocketing prices in diesel, grain, meal and silage have had a knock-on effect on farmers, meaning they need their subsidies more than ever.
“It’s like a house of cards: if one thing goes, the rest can collapse,” she said.
Mr Bryan, who met Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, defended the right to demonstrate from criticism by small numbers of farmers on online forums and in contributions to radio programmes.
“Like all other working families, farmers have also had to find the money to pay significantly higher taxes and charges. Today farm families are saying, ‘enough is enough’,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he understands why the thousands of farmers are taking to the streets.
Posted on October 10, 2012, in Government, National Politics and tagged Dublin, Ireland, Kildare Street, Leinster House, Merrion Square, Simon Byrne, simon coveney, St Stephen's Green. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.