A delegation of farmers have highlighted their anger towards the recently issued Department of Agriculture's TB herd risk letters by burning the letters outside the department’s offices in Clonakilty today.
Led by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Animal Health chairmen, John Kingston - Cork Central - and Derry Scannell - West Cork, the delegation said they wanted the letters withdrawn.
"All correspondence issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, must be fully GDPR compliant and not blacklist farmers for events outside their control,” said Mr Kingston.
“These letters do not meet these basic requirements and should be withdrawn immediately.” Meanwhile, the delegation also set out IFA's demands for a TB programme that tackles the real drivers of TB and reduces the cost burden of controls on farmers and their families.
Local department officials were asked to make the views of Cork farmers known to senior policymakers in advance of any reconvened TB talks, which Minister Charlie McConalogue has indicated “will start shortly”.
"Farmers want to see meaningful dialogue between the department and farmers,” Mr Kingston continued.
“Several issues have been raised consistently, but so far these have fallen on deaf ears.
“The disconnect between senior department of agriculture policymakers and those who are impacted by their decisions cannot continue.
“IFA has set out detailed proposals on the three critical areas including: wildlife control; breakdown investigation and management; and fair financial compensation for farmers while a farm is restricted.
“Farmers want these letters withdrawn immediately, and discussions on solving the TB problem to begin.”