"We Owe Farmers A Debt of Gratitude - The Demonising Needs To Stop" - Cllr Sarah O'Reilly
Cavan County Councillor, and Aontú Agriculture Spokesperson, Sarah O'Reilly, has condemned the "demonising" of farmers over the past few weeks.
Speaking today Cllr O'Reilly said: "It is very frustrating to see so many of the main political parties ganging up on farmers - especially Labour and Sinn Féin who proport to support workers. I saw a photo on social media of a Sinn Féin TD in recent days in a selfie with cattle. A nice photo - but we must remember that the same TD voted in favour of the Climate Action Bill which paved the way for carbon tax and penalties for farmers, do they think farmers are stupid ?"
Cllr O'Reilly continued: "Indeed my party Aontú was the only party to vote against the legislation. The reason we voted against the Bill is because it wasn't a fair proposal during such a difficult time, and it did not provide for a just or fair transition. Farmers are the main economic drivers in rural communities and have already made huge sacrifices for the people of this country. Many farmers are working at a loss and don't make any profit. Now they face huge hurdles with the rising costs of fuel and fertiliser".
"For the most part, the government's attitude is shocking, it's as if they really do not understand the rural way of life. Their idealistic views of what food production and farming is in Ireland far from reality. If we truly cared about the environment we would be focusing our efforts on trying to reverse the Mercosur Trade Deal which outsources our emissions to South America where we see large scale deforestation, wild fires and over grazing and where farmers care little for the environment. The 'deal' struck in recent days will cause hardship for nearly every type of farmer. I also feel for dairy farmers who were actually encouraged by the government to scale up their production during the recession, and are now being penalised. It just isn't fair", concluded Cllr O'Reilly.