Four IFA members prepare for fifth night occupying Department of Agriculture offices

Offaly Express Reporter

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IFA protest

The four IFA members occupying the Department of Agriculture

Four members of the IFA Grain Committee are preparing for their fifth night occupying the Department of Agriculture offices in Kildare Street in Dublin.

The four farmers - Liam Dunne from Kildare who is Chairman of the IFA Grain Committee, James Hill from Wicklow, Peter Lynch from Donegal and Kieran McEvoy from Laois - have been staying in the Department offices each night since last Wednesday. They are occupying the offices in protest over the details of the crisis fund for grain farmers who lost crops in the 2016 harvest due to unprecedented weather conditions.

Farmers from around the country have been coming to Dublin since last Wednesday to support the four farmers.

IFA President Joe Healy said: "These farmers don't stand to benefit from the scheme themselves, but they are an example of the resolve within the organisation.  While we are in regular contact with the Minister and his officials, a proposal to bring the occupation to an end has yet to be found”.

"In previous negotiations between IFA and the Department, we had reluctantly accepted that a limit of €15,000 would have to be applied to the scheme due to restrictive EU State Aid rules. However, the IFA was taken aback when a Department spokesman confirmed there would be a €5000 limit,” Joe Healy said.