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IFA warns Taoiseach tractor rally will escalate unless he engages in ‘proper negotiations’

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Farmers drive their tractors around the Shelbourne Hotel as they make their way to Merrion Square in Dublin on Sunday as part of IFA's 'Save Irish Farming' campaign. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Farmers drive their tractors around the Shelbourne Hotel as they make their way to Merrion Square in Dublin on Sunday as part of IFA's 'Save Irish Farming' campaign. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Farmers drive their tractors around the Shelbourne Hotel as they make their way to Merrion Square in Dublin on Sunday as part of IFA's 'Save Irish Farming' campaign. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Around 100 farmers drove tractors and agricultural machinery on to Merrion Square in Dublin on Sunday as part of an IFA ‘Save Irish Farming’ rally.

Jarlath Walsh, a dairy farmer from Knock, Co Mayo, told the Farming Independent he was at the rally because Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue was not listening to farmers, despite the minister visiting nearly 30 marts around the country over the past few months. 

“It was a so-called consultation, but it’s the Gospel according to the Department. There is no input from farmers on the CAP strategic plan, the Nitrates Derogation or convergence.

“The message was the same from the minister at the first and last mart — he took no points made at the marts on board.”

IFA President Tim Cullinan told farmers the IFA has been trying to get a reasonable position from the minister, but to no avail. “We are willing to play our part [on climate change], but there is a cost associated with it. This Government is making decisions to do things without having a plan,” he said.

Mr Cullinan added the only thing the protesting farmers got from the Government was the power to run the microphone.

“We must see real power” and he warned that if he doesn’t hear from the Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the coming days, IFA would escalate its campaign until it gets “proper negotiations”.

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