Farmers kick off new era of protests on income
Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan today faces a direct plea from Irish farmers to intervene to protect family-farm incomes.
Farmers from all the key sectors, and from across the country, are expected to converge on Dublin for a protest outside the EU Commission offices.
IFA President Eddie Downey said immediate action by the EU Commission is needed to resolve the income crisis facing farming, and especially the grain, dairy and pigs sectors.
Mr Downey said the EU Commissioner and former government minister, Phil Hogan, must promptly implement EU measures to underpin the viability of farm families.
Today's demonstration is the prelude to a major protest in Brussels next Monday as EU ministers meet to discuss the income crisis in the beef and dairy sectors, especially in the wake of the abolition of milk quotas last April.
Mr Downey said a meeting last week with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney left no doubt as to what measures the EU agriculture ministers need to bring forward to address the crisis.
The IFA President also said Mr Coveney will have to intensify his efforts to open markets for Irish produce in the US and China.
"All EU payments will have to be made on time; a 75pc advance on the Basic Payment secured and strong funding in October's Budget," Mr Downey told the Irish Independent last night.
IFA dairy chairman, Sean O'Leary, said margins for dairy farmers had come down 92pc in the last 16 months. "We need the EU Commission to fulfil its legal obligation under regulation 1308/2013 and review the intervention reference thresholds," he said.
Grain chairman Liam Dunne also urged action for his sector.