Huge Turnout for Farmers Protest In Thurles

Farm Protest The normal Thurles traffic was seriously impeded today following the huge turnout by IFA members and their tractors, protesting to raise awareness of the problem of falling farm incomes.

The IFA say that farm incomes have fallen 25% alone this year with bad weather, falling commodity prices and Government cuts being the main reasons given for the income drop. IFA President Padraig Walshe said the protest came about as part of the IFA’s equity and fairness campaign for farmers around the country and he urged all government ministers to defend and support the farming sector through this current crisis.

IFA Farm Business Committee, Chairperson James Kane said that farmers were also extremely angry and outraged at the Government’s plans to put an 80% tax on gains from disposal of rezoned land.
He stated:-

“Farmers see this proposal as an attack on the right to free sale of private property. Indeed many farmers are expressing the view that it is a first step in undermining private property ownership. A tax rate of 80% does not apply anywhere else in the tax system. It is an extreme over-reaction to the recent property price bubble, and is seen as a sop to the Greens, while the main victims will be farmers. There is an importance distinction to be made between farmers who own land in the long-term, as opposed to property speculators who buy agricultural land for speculative gain. The Government can extricate itself from the worst extremes of the 80% CGT, and IFA has put forward reasonable and equitable proposals. Land acquired through the CPO system, and non-rezoned land sold at prices above agricultural prices should not be subject to the higher rate of CGT.”

Also today, Fine Gael Deputy Noel Coonan has strongly reiterating his party’s call for the slurry spreading deadline to be extended.

The Fine Gael TD said North Tipperary farmers need a break after a year earmarked by Government cutbacks, crippling milk and beef prices.

“Farming cannot always operate within certain calendar deadlines. At times these restrictions need to be extended and this Government must be more flexible and accommodating to farmers’ needs and allow slurry spreading past 15th October. Coming from a farming background, I can empathise with other farmers who have ploughed through a very rainy summer which made it very hard to spread all their slurry before this Thursday. Almost every year the slurry spreading deadline is pushed forward so why doesn’t the Government learn from this and take the advice of farmers who know best. Would it make a huge difference to the Government if they extended the deadline by even four weeks? Farming is now dictated by bureaucracy. It’s very tough for farmers to structure their work around numerous time restrictions because their jobs are hugely influenced by the weather which cannot be regulated. I am committed to streamlining the amount of paperwork and the inspection systems currently in place,  to provide farmers with freedom to farm.”

ICSA president Malcolm Thompson, who recently welcomed the collapse of the World Trade Talks, has criticised the EU for imposing “farming by dates” and Deputy Coonan commented that the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith TD must review regulations imposed on farmers to allow them to maximise on the use of their own land.


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