| 8.2°C Dublin

10,000 farmers in march on city for mass protest

THE biggest farmers' protest in a decade descended on Dublin today as 10,000 protetsters hit the city for a demonstration which forced road closures and diversions.

Thousand of farmers packed into the Merrion Square and Kildare Street area to protest about funding.

They came from all parts of the country to make their statement within earshot of Government Buildings and Leinster House.

Organised by the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), it was the biggest demonstration in the capital for years.

Accompanied by 16 agricultural vehicles, the farmers made their way into the city centre in one giant procession.

The protesters were due to march around Merrion Square South and pass through Ely Place, Hume Street, St Stephen's Green East, St Stephen's Green North, Dawson Street, Nassau Street and back onto Kildare Street. A stage was erected at the end of Molesworth Street facing the Dail for speeches.

Last night, parking on Merrion Square was blocked off.

The farmers were due to begin gathering at Merrion Square South from 11.30am.

In addition, gardai were to implement rolling road closures in and around the vicinity of Merrion Square, Lesson Street and St Stephen's Green for the duration of the march.

The protest was called to highlight concerns about planned reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the upcoming Budget.

IFA president John Bryan said a huge decision is to be made in Brussels shortly about funding for CAP.

He said the protest was about putting pressure on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to ensure future funding from the EU is secured.