IFA President Tim Cullinan said today’s ‘Save Irish Farming’ rally in Dublin sent a strong message to the Government that negotiation with farmers on their future has to take place.
He was speaking after a convoy of tractors and farm machinery travelled from the Irish Farm Centre to Merrion Square.
“Due to Covid restrictions, we had to modify our event from a farm family rally to a convoy of vehicles. Farmers drove from every corner of the country, with some leaving their counties on Friday and others early on Saturday morning,” he said.
“Farm families are genuinely concerned about their future. Equally, there is deep frustration that every policy of this Government, including their proposed National Strategic Plan for the next CAP, is designed to reduce production. Farmers are being asked to do more and more for less,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said proper engagement with farm leaders is needed to negotiate a farm-level plan that farmers can implement. To date, nothing has been forthcoming from the Government. Minister McConalogue cannot continue to avoid the views of farmers before he finalises plans next month.
The IFA President said farmers are very conscious of the climate challenge, and they want to play their part. But this Government has no plan. Farmers are being talked at, rather than talked to. The Government needs to provide more funding, including a properly-funded Common Agricultural Policy, to ensure that farmers can take on the climate challenge while remaining viable,” he said.
“Currently, only 30% of farmers in Ireland are viable, and the Government’s policies will make more family farms unviable,” he said.
“The farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country, and we contributed €13bn in exports in 2020. We will not be ignored or pushed aside,” said the IFA President.
“The reality is that if food is not produced in Ireland, it will be produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint such as Brazil, where it was reported this week that 13,235 square kilometres of rainforest were cleared in 2020/2021.”
“Farming is a business activity, and farmers will not stay at it unless they can make a profit and make a living for their families,” he said.