By Carmel Hayes
TRAFFIC delays are expected in Portlaoise tomorrow morning, as tractors take to the streets as part of an IFA Day of Action.
Portlaoise is one of 30 towns nationwide staging the demonstration, which aims to “highlight the importance of commercial farming to the rural economy”.
A convoy of tractors will gather near O’Moore Park at 11am before driving around the centre of town.
The IFA says the event’s purpose is to warn against the dangers in the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform proposals and the Climate Action Bill, which they claim could shut down commercial farming in Ireland.
It will be their first protest since the start of the Covid pandemic.
The IFA says that farmers are expecting “a good reception” when they make their way through the towns.
“The traders and business people in these towns know the importance of having viable farmers. Without viable farmers, you won’t have viable towns,” said the group.
In a statement today, the IFA said: “Some farmers are being hit with massive cuts under the CAP. In addition, the Climate Bill could result in substantial additional regulation and costs being imposed on the same group of farmers.
“Farmers support climate action, but they cannot do more environmental actions with less money.”
They say they are holding the protest to highlight how farming is the “backbone of rural Ireland”, employing 300,000 people across the country and contributing €13 billion in exports in 2020.
They said: “The CAP reform proposes massive cuts for a cohort of farmers to fund Eco-schemes and convergence. We need an impact assessment before we implement these changes and more redistribution. This should be left for Ireland to consider. The EU should not impose it.”
On the Climate Action Bill, the IFA says the new carbon budgets are not taking proper account of the carbon that farmers store on their farms.
The statement said: “We are the best in class when it comes to carbon-efficient food production. However, reducing it here will lead to increased production in less efficient regions, causing carbon leakage. Farming is one of the only sectors with the ability to contribute to planet cooling.”