Yesterday’s protest in Dublin organised by the Beef Plan Movement needs to be the beginning of a “rural revival”, Michael Fitzmaurice TD has claimed.

Fitzmaurice commended the organisers for “sowing the seed” and encouraging supporters to attend the march.

Commenting in the aftermath of the event, where thousands of farmers from all over the country descended on the capital, the Roscommon-Galway TD said: “This needs to be the beginning of a rural revival.

“For too long we have been listening to the bureaucrats and the so-called experts telling us how to live our lives in rural Ireland.

“It is now time for people to come together and present a united front. It was heartening to see the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) supporting the Beef Plan protest yesterday.

“We need everyone singing from the one hymn sheet if we are to overcome the many challenges currently facing us, particularly: Brexit; Mercosur; the climate agenda that is being pushed by bureaucrats; and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.

“It is time now that politicians stopped talking out of both sides of their mouths. It is regrettable that no Government representative felt the need to come out to talk to the people of rural Ireland who gathered outside the gates of Leinster House.

“It just shows the contempt that this Government has for the farming sector.”

‘Clear Message’

Fitzmaurice noted that yesterday’s gathering of farmers in Dublin sent “a clear message” to this Government.

He added: “Since being elected to the Dail, this is the standout protest I have witnessed in Dublin organised for the benefit of rural and farming communities.

“A clear message was sent yesterday; people are fed up of the shenanigans that goes on in propping up this Government. It was ironic to see politicians who support this Government trying to play both sides of the game.”

On the Mercosur deal, the independent TD said: “To think that the EU and the Irish Government would support the area the size of a football field being cut down every minute in the rainforest is unfathomable, while at the same time proposing to increase the carbon tax – which would cripple rural dwellers.

“Something doesn’t add up in all of this. Is there an agenda to try and drive meat production out of Europe because it is perceived as being carbon intensive?

“One would have to wonder if this is the agenda being pursued by our own Government and Europe. Do they not realise that almost 100,000 families are involved in beef and suckler farming in Ireland.

“These farm families support schools, shops, feed merchants, hardware stores, GPs, vets as well as a variety of other businesses in rural communities. By decimating the beef sector, an extensive network of people – from all types of backgrounds – will be affected.

“At the moment, everyone is talking about the climate and the measures that we will need to take.

“But the first thing we need to talk about is how we are going to preserve and look after our rural communities. Or do we want them decimated into a theme park, which seems to be the agenda being pushed at the moment.”

Michael Fitzmaurice TD – 0861914565

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