Thursday January 23, 2020

Protesting farmers face into a hostile new world

Farmers are in crisis, but this time is different. Farming interests have fragmented into angry groups and protests in Dublin are meeting with hostility in an atmosphere that equates farming with climate change, and where beef and dairy prices are firmly controlled by huge conglomerates

1st December, 2019
Tractors and farmers during a protest over farm produce prices at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

In January 2003, I stood in a very cold Merrion Square with a cameraman filming as 2,000 tractors descended on Dublin protesting at falling incomes for farmers. I was producing Ear to the Ground, RTÉ’s farming programme, and this was a rare occasion (at the time) when our farming content made headline news.

The tractors parked four-deep on the square in an orderly fashion, and after a passionate speech from John Dillon, the leader...

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