Belfast Telegraph

Farmers demand continued subsidy

Up to 15,000 farmers have marched through Dublin calling for the Government to take a hard line in negotiations on the next round of European subsidies.

John Bryan, IFA president, said failure to return the 1.6 billion euro package would be bad for the industry and undermine the viability of the most productive farmers.

"The next two months will see decisions taken in Brussels and by our Government that will have a huge bearing on the ability of the sector to survive and grow. Farming can help deliver recovery and jobs but only with the right policies and supports," he said.

"Farm output will drop and the raw material for our ambitious growth plans will not be available if the EU Commission gets its way."

The Day of Action, involving bus-loads of farmers from all over Ireland, saw a march from Merrion Square to Stephen's Green and on to Leinster House for a rally.

A convoy of farming vehicles and tractors drove down Kildare Street as thousands of farmers flooded the narrow street.

A Garda spokesman estimated that around 15,000 people took part in the march, along with about six tractors, a combine harvester, a dairy truck and large digger.

Simon Byrne, who runs a farm in Bunclody, Co Wexford said cutting essential payments to farmers would be dire as the money is the only stability they have.

"The weather this year was so bad so a lot of us really suffered during the harvest. The Government can't guarantee us good weather, but it can guarantee us our payments," said Mr Byrne.

Mary Mullane, who runs a family farm in Newcastle West, Co Limerick said rocketing prices in diesel, grain, meal and silage have had a knock-on effect on farmers, meaning they need their subsidies more than ever.

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