Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

'farmers aren't whingers'

Like most Irish people, O'Rourke is only one step removed from farming himself, with cousins farming on the Beara Peninsula and Wicklow. But after interviewing every farm leader over the past 20 years, what does the RTE man think about how the farming community portrays itself in the media?

"I don't go along with the stereotype that farmers are whingers. They have to take whatever life throws at them in terms of weather and retailer power. Sure, they might over-state their case on occasion, but what lobby group doesn't do a bit of that every now and again? I can remember interviewing the likes of IFA leaders such as Donie Cashman, TJ Maher and Paddy Lane. They were always good at explaining their case and gave good value," he says.

But are farmers winning the PR war?

"Their lobby probably doesn't have the same clout that it had back years ago, and they've had to get a bit more subtle about how they go about convincing the public of their case. But that's the same for all lobby groups.

"The bottom line is that there is a great level of solidarity among farmers, which really stood to them during things like the fodder crisis and foot and mouth. I think they win everybody's admiration for the way that they can band together."

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