Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Angry protest at IFA meeting

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Leitrim IFA's AGM in Drumshambo last Thursday night proved to be something of a flashpoint for farmers unhappy with the organisation's stance on CAP reform.

At least 50 farmers staged a protest in the lobby of the Ramada Inn hotel where the meeting was taking place.

The protesters claimed that IFA headquarters contacted the hotel threatening not to pay the cost of hiring the function room for the meeting if the hotel's management did not eject the dissenters from the lobby.

The protesters had earlier asked the hotel management for permission to move their planned protest indoors due to adverse weather conditions.

Neither the IFA nor management at the hotel would comment on the allegations.

Over 400 attended the meeting, which saw Independent councillor Gerry Dolan stage a walk-out after declaring that the IFA were not listening to small farmers.

IFA president John Bryan fielded questions and views from the floor for over two hours. He told farmers that he was lobbying hard to get the Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) increased again to over €220m and reinstate a REPS-type scheme that would pay farmers up to €8,000 a year.

Mr Bryan added that he had a commitment that the Government would match the funding required to be able to support these proposals.

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Deputy Luke "Ming" Flanagan also addressed the meeting, claiming that if the IFA pushed for a cap of €35,000 to be imposed on all payments, it would free up over €90m for redistribution.

Irish Independent