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Good support for farmers’ party in Star online survey

September 8th, 2023 3:00 PM

By Eimear O'Dwyer

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The majority of people who responded to a recent online poll in The Southern Star have said they would support a farming party. 

Of the 73 respondents, 55% would vote for a farmers’ party, and 53% would give a farming party their No 1. 

On the issue of current political parties supporting the farming sector, 29 people believe the sector is sufficiently supported, while 44 (60%) respondents did not feel that political support is adequate. 

‘The farmers need a voice and the people of rural communities are underrepresented,’ said one respondent. ‘Currently represented by city folk with little knowledge of the hardship people in the country endure, let alone the expense.’ 

‘I think it’s time to have people with common sense in government,’ said another, ‘and people who know the struggles of day-to-day life with little interest in lining their own pockets, but instead fighting for a better future.’ 

‘Let the politicians survive on farmers’ income, there won’t be any left if they worked for our pay,’ said another responsdent. 

One farmer said the party would need to be ‘realistic’ and recognise the realities of climate change.

‘They also need to acknowledge that farming is changing, and needs to change, protecting the environment and biodiversity is equally important as food production and they should work in conjunction with each other,’ they said. ‘Most beef farmers have a second income and that is a reality.’

Meanwhile, 45% of people who answered the survey would not vote for a farming party, with climate change being the primary concern expressed by respondents. 

‘We need to move away from intensive farming, the nitrates derogation is to blame, it has resulted in a rush to the bottom with factory farming being encouraged,’ one respondent said. 

‘We need to enhance the agri-environment schemes, with low stocking rates becoming the norm.’

Another respondent called for growth of the ‘environmental economy’ in West Cork. 

They said that ‘any backwards, anti-climate, nature-restoring party will massively let down rural Ireland.’ 

As well as climate concerns, animal welfare was also referenced. 

‘Animal death and pollution party – no thanks,’ one person said, while another opined that an ‘animal welfare party would be noble.’ 

Finally, some respondents were concerned about the representation of other industries. 

One person said that while farming is a huge industry, there are many other industries such as tourism, fishing and construction to consider. 

‘I know the farming industry is very important, but so is tourism, health, fishing plus many more,’ another respondent said. 

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