Under-pressure farmers protest in Skibbereen

June 11th, 2021 8:00 AM

By Emma Connolly

The Skibbereen protest is expected to start at 11am

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FARMERS will gather in Skibbereen town centre this Friday as part of a nationwide rally to highlight the importance of commercial farming to the rural economy.

The IFA members are warning against dangers in the current Cap proposals and also the government’s Climate Action Bill.

The IFA says that the farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country and contributed €13bn in exports in 2020.

‘The county towns that we will visit on Friday rely heavily on our sector,’ said IFA president Tim Cullinan. ‘Any reduction in activity in agriculture will hit them hard.’ 

‘We will be making a strong statement across the country on Friday that policies must support our largest indigenous industry,’ he said.

‘A cohort of farmers, many of whom are the most productive farmers, are being hit with huge cuts under the Cap. In addition, the Climate Bill, the subsequent carbon budgets and sectoral targets, could result in huge additional regulation being imposed on the same group of farmers,’ he said.

He said farms sequester carbon and this has to be fully factored into the calculation of carbon budgets and sectoral targets. 

‘We will not accept any attempt to remove credits from our sector,’ he said.

According to the Teagasc national farm survey, only one third of farmers in Ireland are viable.

‘The EU and our own government policies are targeting these farmers and will make them unviable,’ he said.

‘The Programme for Government and the Climate Bill refer to taking account of the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane in setting climate budgets. Yet it appears that the government now want to walk away from this commitment,’ he said.

‘Farmers want to work with the government on climate action, but there has to be real engagement. Setting targets without any regard for the consequences won’t work,’ he said.

The Skibbereen protest will take place from 11am. 

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