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Sow idle, fertile fields

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Sir -- I was on a recent coach trip to County Donegal and something very disturbing struck me upon travelling through from Laois to Donegal.

Once we left Tullamore, and looking through our coach windows, we were struck by the sight of empty fields; not a cow, nor a sheep, not a crop of any kind, just hundreds of acres of land lying idle.

Ireland was once the breadbasket of Europe, with its ultra fertile lands. Today, due to EU quotas and the ever-increasing invasion of multinational outlets importing food stuffs into Ireland at knock-down prices, is it no wonder that the same fields remain idle. The horticulturalists and farmers have been thrown to the wall of EU control.

The worry is this; should some great catastrophe hit the world and Ireland's imports come to a standstill, we will suffer the greatest ignominy of our time -- starvation whilst having everything we need to grow crops.

I think that the time has come for Ireland to reclaim its agricultural way of life.

It should become mandatory that no field should lay idle.

It is a total disgrace that we have such a rich resource -- our land -- that is silent for want of seed.

As much as technological and financial industries are important to a country, you cannot replace food and beauty with them.

Margaret Phelan,

Abbeyleix, Co Laois

Sunday Independent