Irish farmers to protest in solidarity with European neighbours

Farmers in the Republic of Ireland will protest tonight in a show of support for their European counterparts (Photo: IFA)
Farmers in the Republic of Ireland will protest tonight in a show of support for their European counterparts (Photo: IFA)

Farmers in Ireland are set to take to the streets tonight in a show of support as protests continue to take place in France, Germany and Belgium.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has called on farmers across the Republic of Ireland to 'show solidarity' with neighbouring European countries.

Farmers have taken to the streets of numerous capitals, including Paris and Brussels, over concerns regarding green rules, unfair competition from overseas and low prices.

Earlier today (1 February), angry farmers started fires outside the European Parliament building in Brussels in protest against the issues.

The IFA said that the Irish industry was "just as frustrated by what is happening", blaming 'Brussels bureaucrats' and Ireland's Department of Agriculture for ignoring farmers.

A recent meeting of the IFA National Council agreed that protest action would be taken on Thursday evening.

IFA President Francie Gorman said the move was intended to "show solidarity with farmers who are protesting in Germany, France, Belgium and other member states".

“Farmers here have been watching the protests across Europe," he said, "They are just as frustrated by what is happening as farmers in other countries.

"They feel they are being regulated out of business by Brussels bureaucrats and Department of Agriculture officials who are far removed from the reality of day-to-day farming.

“Irish farmers are pro-EU, but there is mounting frustration about the impact of EU policy on European farmers, and its implementation here in Ireland.

"The general feeling amongst farmers across the EU is that ‘enough is enough’,” Mr Gorman said.

It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders met with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels to discuss new support for farmers.

They proposed to allow EU farmers to avail of derogations for the year 2024 from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules obliging them to keep certain areas non-productive.

Today's proposal was sent today to the bloc's Member States, who will vote on it in an upcoming committee meeting.

Ms von der Leyen said: “Farmers are the backbone of EU food security and the heart of our rural areas.

"Today's measure offers additional flexibility to farmers at a time when they are dealing with multiple challenges.

"We will continue to engage with our farmers to ensure the CAP strikes the right balance between responding to their needs while continuing to deliver public goods for our citizens. ”

In the UK, Jeremy Clarkson showed his support for European farmers, saying on X, formerly Twitter: "French farmers. I bet no one has ever said that before, but good luck, coming from England."