A new Irish farmers’ organisation looks set to run candidates in the 2025 General Election, a public meeting heard in Athlone on Sunday.
round 100 farmers attended the meeting which also heard calls for the establishment of a new purchasers’ group, a co-op and a farmer’s political party.
The meeting, organised through the online group, the Irish Farm Discussion Group [IFDG], was addressed by Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, who called on those present to “rise-up and challenge” their politicians.
Speaking from the top table, Donegal farmer Liam McLaughlin urged farmers to stay united but warned that urgent action was needed if many Irish farmers are to survive.
“My goal here is that we stay united and work as one. We are not being represented [by the farming organisations], we wouldn’t be here today if we were being represented. Let’s pull together and try to do something together, because if we don’t, were finished,” he said.
“We need to set up a co-op, we need to set up a purchasers’ group, we need to set up a farming organisation, we need to set up a political party.”
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Mattie McGrath of the Rural Independent Group said that rural Ireland was “under attack from all sides”.
“There is an attack on farming, an attack on rural Ireland and an attack on our values,” he said. “Farming has become a lonely and frightening experience.”
In his comments to the meeting Deputy McGrath was critical of the established farming organisations, the mainstream media and the Irish Citizens’ Assembly.
“I have question marks for many of the farming organisations, especially the biggest one,” he said.
“It’s time for the people to rise up and challenge their current politicians.”
Speaking from the floor, Galway farmer Adrian Kelly urged the group to take their concerns to the ballot box instead of the picket line.
“The only way forward is to challenge the government at the ballot box. Irish farming has two years [to be saved], between now and the next election,” he said.
“The ultimate goal of this organisation has to be attack at the ballot box. Otherwise we’re wasting our time.
“The people who traditionally voted for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are sick of them. They are saying that the only thing that is left to do is vote for Sinn Féin. We need to provide another alternative. We need one candidate in each constituency. This is our last chance saloon, we have nothing to lose.”
The group committed to holding another public meeting in Athlone in four or five weeks, at which time they are likely to formalise their aims and objectives.
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