Sun, 05 Dec 2021

DUBLIN, Ireland: Some 100 tractors and other farm vehicles were driven through Dublin's city centre on Sunday by farmers protesting how the government's Climate Action Plan could harm their incomes.

Irish Farmers Association President Tim Cullinan said the 22 percent emissions target could cause losses of 10,000 jobs in the framing sector.

"The cost to the rural economy could be anything up to €1.2 billion a year. That's a massive cost for rural Ireland. So the Government has to sit up and listen to what we're saying here today. We need a whole of Government approach for a plan around this, a proper plan and the proper funding," he said, as reported by RTE.

Irish Farmers Association officials noted that if the government does not participate in meaningful discussions, they would expand their protests.

The farmers' tractors drove through the city centre, passing the Department of Agriculture, the Dil and Government Buildings. The rally was held in Merrion Square.

The Save Irish Farming Campaign began in June. Since then, this was the third major rally held by farmers.

A Garda escort minimized any traffic problems caused by the farm vehicles.

"We produce foods to the very best environmental standards. And we just want to show the people of Dublin that we, as a family, produce the food, but also send the message to Government that the plans that are in place for the climate change and the nitrates will put our family out of business. We just want a small bit of fair play," said Pat Murphy, a dairy farmer.

"We're very concerned. We all have a lot of investment in our farms and we see our returns dwindling every year. All we want is a chance to continue to produce food in the best way that we can, as we're doing for generations," according to RTE.

Also speaking out was Anne Mitchell from Galway, who said, "The family farm is under threat. If the proposals are implemented, there will be up to 55,000 families associated with agriculture out of business. We can't allow that to happen because we are producing the best quality stock in the world, grass based and fed."

Meanwhile, speaking to RTE, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said this is a time of change for farming.

Coveney noted that the Government needs to work with farming organisations in developing a roadmap to manage the changes and ensure farms remain profitable.

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