UP to 3,000 farmers from across Munster gathered in Cork city last night to voice protest against policies which they fear will cut their income and production.
The Save Irish Farming protest was one of four held across the country yesterday by the Irish Farmers Association. President of the association, Tim Cullinan, attended all four of the protests.
The Cork protest saw walkers march from Emmet Place to the Grand Parade, via Patrick’s Street while tractors and lorries from merchants supporting the campaign by the IFA travelled from Kennedy Quay through the city centre to the finish point on the Grand Parade.
And here come the tractors. pic.twitter.com/Z15qbnCtGk— Des (@despod) October 8, 2021
Courtmacsherry farmer Harold Kingston is the Munster chairman of the IFA. He said the action is being taken against potential cuts in income and production under the Common Agricultural Policy, the Nitrates Directive and the Climate Action Bill.
He told The Echo this morning that last night’s action in Cork was attended by farming families who had never taken part in protests before.
He said: “What we have done for generations is now under threat.”
He added: “People feel the need to have their voices heard.” He said that the message from last night’s rally is that farmers want to do things to tackle climate change but they need to have engagement with the government to help draw up a plan together.
Mr Kingston said organisers were delighted with the turnout at yesterday’s rallies but they are also worried because it highlights just how concerned farmers are.
He said the Climate Action Bill is of particular concern to farmers.
The bill requires Ireland has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030.
Mr Kingston said that it is now up to the government to “come back to us”, adding: “The next move is their one”.
He stressed that farmers are looking for “proper engagement” with the government to work out a programme on how the agriculture sector can help tackle climate change.
A council meeting of the IFA will take place on Thursday, which traditionally occurs after budgets. But he said that it is likely that discussion will take place on what the next steps to be taken by the IFA will be following yesterday’s day of action.