Farmers took to the streets during 2019 in numbers and with a frequency not witnessed for decades

Several hundred farmers gathered in protest in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, which wasorganised by the Western Region of the Beef Plan Movement. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Several hundred farmers gathered in protest in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, which wasorganised by the Western Region of the Beef Plan Movement. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Fair deal protest
Vulture funds protest
The Save Leitrim protest
Gardai with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at the Tullamore Show. Photo: Arthur Carron
Dublin protest
IFA protest

Claire Fox

Fair Deal

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Fair deal protest
 

April saw hundreds of IFA members mount a protest at the Department of Health in Dublin against the delay in implementation of the Fair Deal Scheme.

IFA president Joe Healy called on the government to honour its commitment to the scheme. He said some farmers are living in fear that they will have to sell their land to cover mounting nursing home fees.

"The money is running out for farmers in some cases and the fear and the threat of having to sell some or all of their land is causing huge stress on those farms and causing huge difficulties in relation to identifying a successor," said Mr Healy.

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Vulture funds

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Vulture funds protest
 

Farmers urged AIB to "really back brave" and halt its decision to sell €1bn worth of non-performing loans to vulture funds. At a protest at the AIB annual general meeting at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin in April, the (IFA) protested against the bank's plans to sell certain farmer loans.

"Selling the loans to a fund that has no other way to work than to haul in the money as fast as it can is not the way to go for genuine Irish people doing their best to pay back the money they owe when often enduring considerable hardship in the process," said IFA Farm Business Martin Stapleton.

 

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Where's the beef?

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Several hundred farmers gathered in protest in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, which wasorganised by the Western Region of the Beef Plan Movement. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
 

Hundreds of beef farmers protested at a major beef meeting in Galway in May, setting the scene for a summer of protests against the backdrop of collapsing beef factory prices.

Approximately 2,500 farmers took part in a Beef Plan protest in July in Dublin and this later escalated to weeks of pickets outside factory gates around the country.

From tense scenes outside factory gates to High Court injunctions being issued to farmers by factories, it was a pivotal protest in the history of Irish farming.

The protests eventually came to an end after the Ploughing when farm organisations entered in to talks with Meat Industry Ireland.

 

Save Leitrim forestry protests

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The Save Leitrim protest
 

The Save Leitrim Group staged protests at the Dáil in January and October against the State's forestry policy which they said was having a negative impact on the landscape and mental health of people in the county.

Leitrim saw the highest amount of land being planted last year, with 536ha added to the county's woodland. Leitrim now has 18.9pc of its land planted.

 

Tullamore Show

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Gardai with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at the Tullamore Show. Photo: Arthur Carron

With beef farmers threatening to protest at the Tullamore Show, gardai were on hand to accompany Minister Creed at the event in August.

 

Tractor Protest Dublin

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Dublin protest
 

Approximately 100 farmers blockaded St Stephen's Green in a bid to put pressure on the authorities to lift injunctions against two farmers who had been involved in an earlier protest. The blockade caused traffic chaos in the city centre and farmers threatened to cause even more disruption in the run-up to Christmas if their demands were not met.

Following the protest, the injunctions against two people who had been protesting at the C&D pet food factory in Co Longford were removed and Beef Taskforce talks resumed.

 

Supermarket blockades

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IFA protest
 

The IFA blocked Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Musgraves and Dunnes distribution centres in December demanding an increase in beef prices. IFA President Joe Healy accused various supermarkets of "being part of a race to the bottom" with their discounting policies.

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