The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday 22 February to discuss farmer frustration over increased regulation, reduced supports and falling incomes.

Speaking after the meeting, IFA president Francie Gorman said that while the meeting was constructive, the Taoiseach and the Government must deliver.

A number of key issues were discussed including the nitrates derogation, late payments, the need for immediate tillage supports, ash dieback, the residential zoned land tax, VAT refunds, the cost of doing business and work permits.

"To date, farmers have been taking actions at local level, but anger is building.

'Pull together'

“I was clear with the Taoiseach that the Government needs to lead a unified national effort to retain the nitrates derogation. All politicians, farm organisations and the sector need to pull together to ensure the derogation stays in place,” he said.

"The payment delays of 2023 cannot be repeated. The move to make an interim payment on ACRES is a step forward and money needs to get to farmers as a matter of urgency,” he said.

“Increasing tillage production is a key Government policy, yet the area is declining. The Government’s tillage Food Vision sub-group is due to report shortly. It must be accompanied by a budget for a new tillage scheme or it will be a hollow document,” he said.

“The Government must act on their own ash dieback report and get a proper compensation scheme in place as soon as possible,” he said.

“The residential zoned land tax was deferred last year, but there must be a solution to exclude genuine farmers from this penal tax,” he said.


The VAT refund issue was also raised by the IFA during the meeting, as well as the cost of doing business, work permits, the nature restoration law, GAEC 2 and the planned new land use policy being developed by the Government.

“In conclusion, the planned actions agreed at our recent national council meeting will continue until we get delivery on the issues we highlighted,” Gorman said.