Viewpoint: The gloves are off as politicians go chasing the farming vote
Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30
And they're off. The wheeling and dealing in political circles we will experience over the next few weeks would probably astound even the most astute cattle dealer.
But when incumbent TDs and hopeful candidates start landing on doorsteps over the next few weeks, it's a chance for farm families to seek action.
There may be fleets of cars once again making their ways along the motorways into the cities, but those living in rural communities feel they've been left behind by our economic recovery.
I'm sure I'm not the only one left dismayed by the closed businesses on the high streets of many of the small towns and villages that I pass through.
We've had many phonecalls to the Farming Independent from farmers and rural dwellers who feel that their communities are lagging far behind in the recent much-touted recovery.
The development of rural Ireland and investment in rural areas should be among the key demands of farm families as politicians come a-knocking.
The list of demands will be lengthy. There are few communities that have escaped the scourge of rural crime this year, with many farmers being hit not just once but multiple times by thieves targeting quads, chainsaws and any other items they may be able to offload.
In other areas, families and businesses have been left counting the cost after flooding, and demands must be made for flood defences and other measures.