01 December 2008

Irish Farmers "won't go away quietly"

Padraig Walshe (left), the President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), is warning the Irish government that "farmers won't go away quietly and accept the Budget cuts".

He was speaking yesterday evening in Ennis, Co. Clare, where more than 7000 IFA members from counties Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wexford had gathered for a mass demonstration to vent their anger.

Since October more than 20,000 Irish farmers have now expressed their anger over the 2009 Budget cuts at various IFA meetings all over the country. (see also my entries of November 2nd & 16th)

The IFA says that the recent cutbacks will mean a € 20 million loss to farmers in the region every year and is urging the government to think again.
It also accuses the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith to be "in denial over the impact of the government cuts on farmers".

Padraig Walshe says that Minister Smith is "disingenuous by referring to 2008 payments, which have nothing to do with the government's farm cuts for 2009".

"The way farmers have been hit is totally unacceptable", Walshe declared in an interview with RTÉ.
"The cuts are a direct attack on the viability of low-income farmers, especially in the West. Many farmers will not be able to make a living from farming under these conditions."

In reply, Brendan Smith (right) said that he did "not accept claims about the impact of the cuts on farm incomes".

This is another example of a Cabinet Minister closing his eyes and ignoring the facts, hoping that the problems will somehow 'go away'.

Smith, who was only appointed to his current position in May of this year when Brian Cowen became Taoiseach , seems to be quite a fast learner when it comes to collective ignorance and - as Padraig Walshe pointed out - denial.

He makes a fine addition to a Cabinet that is meanwhile so far removed from reality and from the Irish people that no argument, no matter how valid, can get through the ring of political cotton wool it surrounds itself with.

There are two ways to deal with this: Either the government removes the cotton wool, or the people have to remove the government. Personally I think the latter is the more desirable and more effective solution to improve our lives, our country and our economy.
As the IFA would be a welcome ally in such an operation, I hope that this time the farmers will indeed "not go away quietly" and remain strong and steadfast in their protest.

The Emerald Islander

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