Irish farmers protest in Dublin over CAP reforms

Leinster House Dublin Police said about 20,000 farmers had joined the protest close to Leinster House

An estimated 20,000 farmers have demonstrated in Dublin amid concerns about future EU and government funding.

Many streets around Leinster House and Government Buildings were closed as the farmers marched through the city to Kildare Street.

Irish Farmers' Association President John Bryan said the turnout sent a clear message to Europe and the government that farming matters.

Their main concern is the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

The IFA said there should be no cuts to the 1.6bn euros (£1.29bn) Ireland receives yearly.

It is also opposed to proposals to redistribute individual annual payments to farmers and argues that the most productive farmers could lose out.

The association also called on the government not to cut the 300m euros it spends on farm schemes in December's budget.

"The agri industry fully understands the consequences for their businesses and the 300,000 jobs depending on the sector if the EU Commission gets its way on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy," Mr Bryan said.

"Farm output will drop and the raw material for Ireland's ambitious growth plans in the food sector will not be available if the EU Commission gets its way."

Mr Bryan said he hoped the protest in Dublin would send a clear message to the Irish government that they must fight in Brussels to secure a full CAP budget that "supports productive farmers and the rural economy".

He said the government could not continue to heap extra costs and taxes on top of productivity and work.

"The government need to get serious about improving our competitiveness and not damaging it further with more taxes and costs on the hard-pressed business and productive sectors," he added.

The IFA said most dairy co-ops, beef, lamb, pig and poultry processors, grain merchants and livestock marts would not accept farm produce on Tuesday.

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