Ireland

Tanaiste agrees to meet farmers protesting outside Fianna Fail event

Tanaiste Micheal Martin and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue have agreed to meet representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association (Cillian Sherlock/PA)
Tanaiste Micheal Martin and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue have agreed to meet representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association (Cillian Sherlock/PA) Tanaiste Micheal Martin and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue have agreed to meet representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association (Cillian Sherlock/PA)

Tanaiste Micheal Martin and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue have agreed to meet a delegation from the Irish Farmers’ Association as the organisation stages a large protest outside the annual Fianna Fail think-in.

Dozens of farmers set up a picket and beeped tractor horns outside the Horse And Jockey hotel in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Others held banners and flags during the IFA demonstration over a range of issues including frustration in relation to the EU cut in Ireland’s nitrates derogation limit and the plan to delay payments to farmers in 2023.

The organisation also highlighted concerns with the design of the latest suckler scheme, issues in the sheep sector, and “the destruction of tillage” through the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

Mr McConalogue and Mr Martin were heckled by farmers as they attempted to engage with IFA representatives outside the hotel.

The Fianna Fail agriculture minister agreed to take a delegation from the IFA into a meeting with his party leader, Mr Martin.

Mr McConalogue told the crowd: “We are doing our very best on all issues.”

IFA president Tim Cullinan agreed to the meeting but told the minister: “We’re at a point of no more negotiations until you’re willing to put the real issues back on the table.”

Mr Cullinan called on Mr Conalogue to get European Commission officials to visit Irish farms and consider the IFA’s proposals for the sector.

He said: “There’s so many serious issues here. People have told me this morning they have been waiting for payments, that is a huge concern.

“And the other one, obviously, is the nitrates derogation.

“Remember where you are, here this morning – you’re in the Golden Vale, the heart of farming in Ireland.

“By God, I’m telling you, minister, we’re not going to lose the dairy industry, we’re not going to lose the beef industry or sheep industry or the tillage sector.”