02 November 2008

Farmers' Protest Gathering in Portlaoise

More than 300 people affected by the recent Budget decision to suspend Installation Aid and the Early Retirement Scheme for farmers attended a protest meeting in Portlaoise, Co. Laois yesterday afternoon.

The meeting, organised by the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), heard the concerns of individual farmers who plan to retire, and young farmers who want to set up in farming.

IFA President Padraig Walshe (right) said that farmers were angry at the sudden move to block new entrants and pointed out that the industry needed young trained farmers. The axing of the Retirement Scheme has apparently thrown the succession plans of hundreds of Irish farm families into disarray, causing them deep distress and uncertainty.

Upsetting one of their oldest and staunchest support groups - the farming community - could be the last straw to break Fianna Fáil's back. Taoiseach Brian Cowen, himself a man from the rural Midlands (with his home not too far from Portlaoise), must be either insane or desire political suicide. Whatever happens, and whatever has to be done to stem the tide of economic recession, one does not annoy one's most important supporters.
But since he keeps doing it - over and over again - I predict that he will have no great future in Irish politics and will more likely live on in infamy.

The Emerald Islander

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