Three little pigs tucked into a pile of grain dumped by protesting farmers outside the EU Commission’s offices in Dublin yesterday.
The farmers were among more than 2,000 protesters from all over the country who called on the EU Commission to ease their cashflow woes.
Grain farmers have been selling their produce below the cost of production for three years, while dairy farmers have watched the price of milk fall by 40% in recent months.
A pig eats grain dumped outside the European Commission’s office in central Dublin as hundreds of farmers take part in a protest over falling incomes.
The Irish Farmers Association, who organised the protest, said pig farmers had been particularly badly hit by the continuing Russian ban on meat products.
IFA president Eddie Downey said that farmers across a range of enterprises were under severe pressure because of political interference in markets, severe price volatility, and unregulated retailers.
IFA president Eddie Downey
Next Monday, farming bodies across Europe will hold a protest in Brussels to coincide with the emergency farm council meeting.
Mr Downey said he metwith Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney last week and left him in no doubt as to what he and his EU ministerial colleagues needed to do to address the crisis.
IFA president Eddie Downey leads a protest of members to the new EU office in Dublin, where a letter was handed in demanding action
IFA national dairy chairman Sean O’Leary said political decisions created the problem and additional funding had to be found.
The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), John Comer, said an immediate intervention price of 28 cents per litre was needed.
According to IFA national grain chairman Liam Dunne, growers were forced to produce crops to satisfy bureaucratic requirements rather than respond to market signals.
Meanwhile, IFA pigs chairman Pat O’Flaherty said the EU Commission must seek to re-open markets, including Russia, for pork products.
Responding to the protest, Mr Coveney said he was acutely aware that farmers in some sectors faced significant challenges because of a difficult, but temporary, global market downturn. He said he would discuss proposals on providing more assistance to farmers with his EU ministerial counterparts over the coming days.
One of the protesting farmers, Thomas Power from Ardmore, Co Waterford, is a beef and dairy farmer with 250 acres of land. He is married with three older children in full-time education.
Enda Monaghan, Tom Costello, Michael Murphy and Tom Walsh all from Galway grad a sandwich before the IFA protest of members, at the the new EU office in Dublin, where a letter of was handed in demanding action on the farm income crisis across all sectors.
“I want the European Commission to know that the situation is hurting people like me,” he said.
Liam Roche, who has 200 cows on his 280-acre farm in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, says he was fighting to secure his farming future.
“I am 34 years old and married with a four-and-a-half month child,” he said. “I have built up the farm but, realistically, I cannot keep going with the kind of money I am getting at the moment.”
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