Coveney: Farming sector 'standing up for itself'09/10/2012 - 08:59:09
The Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said he will meet with some of the 10,000 farmers protesting in Dublin later.
The Irish Farmers Association demonstration is taking place in the city centre from 11.30am as members protest over CAP reforms and budget cuts.
Minister Coveney said he understands their concerns and said he will do all he can to protect the sector.
he Irish Farmers Association has said Ireland's CAP budget for the next seven years is under serious pressure and it is calling on the Government to negotiate harder for Irish farmers.
Currently, the farming sector in Ireland gets €1.6bn a year from the CAP budget and the IFA wants that level maintained until 2020 instead of the 30% cut proposed in Europe.
The minister has defended their right to protest.
He said: "Farmers aren't holding anybody to ransom. There are 130,000 farm families in Ireland, the agri-food sector is linked to the employment of considerably over 200,000 people and today it is standing up for itself.
"Just like any other sector that has concerns and wants to put the Government under pressure, the farmers are entiteld to protest if they want."
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