Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Ex-chief lambasts IFA for being 'dead in the water'

Martin Ryan

A former IFA president has launched a blistering attack on the association, condemning it as "dead in the water".

Limerick man John Dillon wants the rank-and-file members to demand "real action" from IFA chiefs -- and he is even prepared to lead moves against the association.

Mr Dillon attacked the IFA as "too cosy and inactive" when he addressed a meeting of the Limerick IFA executive meeting in Adare.

His spontaneous outburst was roundly applauded by farmers from the floor.

"I am not going to stand back. We have to take action and if no one else is prepared to do it, I will do it myself," Mr Dillon said.

"We'll have to make some protest if things are not sorted out soon."

Mr Dillon was an anchor man in the election campaign for IFA president John Bryan. He admitted that he admired Mr Bryan because of his work on the IFA beef committee.

However, he stressed the leadership shown during that crisis was needed again.

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"The view that I am getting from out on the ground is that the IFA is not doing the job that they should be doing, representing the interests of farmers. They are saying that everything is going OK, but I am saying it is the direct opposite. The job of the IFA is to work for farmers and not to have farmers working for the IFA," he added.

"The people at the top are only trying to keep farmers quiet by telling them everything is all right. Don't let them keep you quiet. It is up to us on the ground to tell those people that we want real action to deal with our problems," he told the Limerick farmers.

"They will tell us that we are getting good prices this year, but all of the schemes and regulations are still there.

"Our people at the top are very cosy and they tell us everything is going very well and they are very happy with us while we are content to stay quiet," he added.

Asked to clarify the specific issues of his concern he said: "We don't have a Charter of Farmer Rights. Where is it gone? The quality payments system (QPS) should not have been introduced the way it was at a couple of days notice and you can have 11 similar-looking cattle and get 11 different prices.

"We have grading machines that are only 80 per cent accurate and that is not good enough because some farmers are being robbed and rules and regulations are getting worse and nothing is being done about them."

Specifically, he claimed that there were nine inspections of his farm in the past 12 months alone. He had four cars of the inspectorate on one day -- and they insisted at proceeding with a nitrates inspection despite his objections as his yard was being used for parking by sympathisers following the funeral of his next-door neighbour.

"The IFA has gone dead as mutton in representing the pressing issues which are affecting farmers," Mr Dillon claimed.

He lashed the association for "not standing up" to Government -- a job, he said, it should be doing.

Irish Independent