Dublin city brought to standstill as farmers step up beef price protest

Dublin city centre has been brought to a standstill as hundreds of farmers took part in a protest over beef prices.

The “tractorcade” protest made its way into Dublin on Wednesday afternoon in a bid to highlight low prices for beef farmers.

The planned demonstration caused a number of road closures, including St Stephen’s Green, Kildare Street, Merrion Square and Molesworth Street.

The demonstration is expected to last 24 hours.

The Individual Farmers of Ireland, which organised the protest, have called for farmers to get a better beef price.

Kevin Murphy, a 24-year-old beef farmer from Wexford, said: “There are a number of issues – the main issue being the beef price that we are producing is below cost price.

“The other issue is the carbon tax that the Government want to bring in. If that comes in the way the blue shirts want it to, it doesn’t make any odds what price the beef is, it will be game over for the farmers’ community with the price of green diesel.

“I’m not a full-time farmer like my father, but the way things are going there won’t be a future in farming. It will be an expensive hobby.”

I don't understand why they are targeting farmers when there's 2,200 planes flying through Ireland's airspace and they are worried about a few cows farting in the field

“It’s my father’s farm that I want to take over and it’s been going on for generations.

“I want to tell the (Agricultural) Minister (Michael Creed) to stop bending over to the EU and be a voice for Ireland, stop doing everything you are told and be a voice for the people you are representing and not the big businessmen.

“Farming will die out slowly.

“I don’t understand why they are targeting farmers when there’s 2,200 planes flying through Ireland’s airspace and they are worried about a few cows farting in the field.”

Christopher Duffy, from Co Meath, accused gardai of splitting the protest up as a number of farmers in tractors were prevented from accessing St Stephen’s Green from the Merrion Square area.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Vincent Black, a farmer from Cavan, with tractors parked on Merrion Square in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)</figcaption>
Vincent Black, a farmer from Cavan, with tractors parked on Merrion Square in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Duffy said: “We had an arrangement made with the gardai that we would come in and do a protest today.

“We could have come in and done this under the cover of darkness.

“They are after dividing us up now – they are trying to divide and concur. Half of our protest is stuck beside Merrion Square held back by steel fences.

“We are being boxed in like sheep waiting to be sheered.

“When did you ever see a protest split up in two? We want to be together. They are holding us prisoner in one spot.”

Farmers say they are worried about the lack of talks by the Beef Task Force.

They also want higher prices from beef processors.

Peadar Toibin, leader of Aontu, addressed the farmers saying it was a “disgrace” that Government was allowing farmers to bring their beef to the process gates for below price.

He added: “I attended the agricultural committee a few weeks ago and I told the chair of the agricultural committee (Pat Deering), who is senior Fine Gael TD, that farmers should get a price above the cost of production and that TD said it was an unreasonable demand.

“It’s one rule for the establishment in Leinster House and it’s another rule for the rest of the people in Ireland. This government have M50 vision, they can’t see beyond the M50.

“The only way you can crow-bar the issues of rural Ireland back into the political debate is to keep doing what you are doing.

“Keep protesting and expose the injustice.”

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