07 Oct 2016
50 YEARS ON FROM THE FARMERS RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, REPRESENTING FARM FAMILIES STILL AT CORE OF IFA’S WORK – HEALYPresident
Today, Friday 7th October marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Farmers’ Rights Campaign in 1966. Sixteen farmers led by NFA President Rickard Deasy embarked on a march from Bantry, Co Cork to Dublin, a 217-mile journey to seek negotiating rights with the Government of the day.
Later this month (27th Oct), IFA President Joe Healy will lead a commemoration in Bantry to honour those who took part in the Farmers’ Rights Campaign. The attendance will include some of the 16 men who set out from the west Cork town 50 years ago. A plaque to mark the seminal event in the history of NFA/IFA will be unveiled as part of the ceremony.
Other IFA County Executives will also hold events to mark the contribution of voluntary officers from around the country to the Farmers’ Rights Campaign and the successful outcome to the battle to secure negotiating rights with the Government.
The march to Dublin culminated in the silent parade of 30,000 farmers through the streets to Government Buildings. When the Minister for Agriculture Charles Haughey refused to meet a deputation, a group of nine members of NFA sat outside for 21 days until the Minister agreed to meet them. The nine were: Rickard Deasy, TJ Maher, Michael Gibbons, Joe Dunphy, Bob Stack, Jim Bergin, Sean Holland, Tom Cahill and Hugh Leddy.
Joe Healy said he was honoured to lead the commemoration of those who had made immense sacrifices for farm families 50 years ago. “The Farmers’ Rights Campaign of 1966 was the most significant event in the history of NFA/IFA. It galvanised farmers and showed them the true value of working together in unity to achieve better income conditions. The ideals of our founding fathers during that Campaign hold true today”.