9.35pm: We want to hear your opinions on the Government’s policies towards farming

Thanks for tuning into our live blog, which covered four IFA rallies across the country this Friday, which saw thousands of farmers take to the streets under the slogan of ‘Save Irish Farming’.

We want to hear how you feel about the Government's policies and attitude towards farming.

You can share your opinion with us here:

9.30pm: ‘Clear message sent to Government’ - Cullinan

IFA president Tim Cullinan says the IFA is in the city which is home to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

He says it’s time that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil stood up.

“Thousands of people here in Cork tonight and, again, the same concerns right across the country. The Government has to sit down now and negotiate with us as a sector and get a proper deal.

“We’re hearing the challenges coming down the tracks here with climate, with nitrates directives and obviously CAP reform.

“I think we sent a very clear message to Government here this evening, particularly here in Cork, with thousands of people and young farmers here in Cork. They want to secure their future and want to be able to continue to produce top-quality food.

“Government has to sit up and take note of what the people of Ireland are saying.”

9.15pm: ‘We want support for sheep’

IFA sheep chair Seán Dennehy, speaking on stage at the end of the protest, says the IFA wants support for sheep farmers.

“We want €30/ewe, we want €300 for our suckler cow and we want proper support for tillage,” the Cork man says.

Gardaí are now estimating that between 3,000 and 3,500 farmers are attending the protest this evening in Cork.

9.00pm: ‘We’re going to have to reduce our stock by 20% to 30%’

Michael Davoren, a farmer from the Burren in Co Clare, travelled to Cork city on Friday night for the fourth regional IFA rally.

“We live up in the Burren in Co Clare. We’re here this evening because if this nitrates comes in, the way we hear it’s coming in, we’re going to have to reduce our stock by 20% or 30%.

“This is a contradiction in effect. We have proven in the Burren that the only way to manage it environmentally is to continue to graze it and yet another section of the same Department of Agriculture are telling us to reduce our stock.

Michael Daviren, The Burren, Co Clare, at the Save Irish Farming protest in Cork city.

“So after paying us to increase our stock for the last 10 years, we’re now going to be stopped from doing that.

“We really can’t see the sense in reducing the production in Ireland and producing it somewhere else, so we are put out of business, yet the environment is no better off.”

8.43pm: Gardaí estimate over 1,800 farmers take part in protest

Gardaí at the protest have told the Irish Farmers Journal that they estimate between 1,800 and 2,000 farmers are taking part in the Cork protest this evening.

8.35pm: Farmers march through Cork city

Led by IFA president Tim Cullinan, farmers from Cork and Munster are now marching through Cork city in the final Save Irish Farming protest of today.

8.25pm: ‘We’re at the coalface of the climate business’

Donal Howard, chair of the Cork central rural development committee, said he is at the rally because he feels farmers are not being listened to by Government.

“We’re partners, we’re at the coalface of the climate business and therefore we’re the most important people that should be listened to and we feel we’re not being listened to, particularly in relation to the statement by the Minister recently where he said the Government owns the carbon sequestered by forestry.

Donal Howard, Kilcorney, at the Save Irish Farming protest in Cork city.

“It’s a totally ridiculous statement so we feel it’s necessary to bring this to the attention of the general public.”

8.15pm: ‘Farmers are very, very concerned’ - IFA president

Tommy Moyles speaks to IFA president Tim Cullinan at the fourth and final rally in Cork City:

“It’s been an excellent day from a farmer point of view. Since we started at six o’clock this morning in Cavan, people have been out on the road since five o’clock this morning, excellent turnout in Cavan.

“We moved o nto Roscommon, an excellent gathering in Roscommon as well. We moved o nto Portlaoise this evening, huge crowd in Portlaoise as well.

“There’s one common denominator here in all of this, that’s the concern of farmers, very, very, concerned about all the changes that are coming and the fact that our Government is not listening to us.

“That is hugely concerning and that’s the reason we’re out here.”

8.05pm: the rally at Cork City gets under way

The final regional rally to take place this Friday is under way in Cork City. Over 700 farmers have already gathered already.

7.55pm: ‘Soaring costs facing farmers’

Roy Gallie, IFA pig committee chair, tells the Irish Farmers Journal: "Pigs are at the forefront for us, but we're here today to protest the changes coming across all sectors of agriculture.

David Tyndell pig farmer and Roy Gallie IFA pig chair.

“There are soaring costs and yet the prices have dropped. Farmers are producing food below cost, not just in Ireland but across the EU. It has to stop."

7.35pm: ‘We’ll do whatever it takes to get Government to listen’

Thomas O’Connor, Kildare IFA chair, at the protest in Portlaoise tells the Irish Farmers Journal: “We’re here fighting for our livelihoods in Irish farming. I’m coming from a low-income sector and from the cuts that are coming from CAP, convergence and eco schemes we’re being decimated in our income.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get Government to listen. We had our county protests back in June, this is our phase two and we’ll go to phase three next. Whatever that means, we’ll do it.”

7.15pm: TD says unique challenges are facing farming

Jackie Cahill, Tipperary TD and chair of the Oireachtas agriculture committee: “We have a huge number of challenges facing us today, we have CAP reform, eco schemes, the nitrates review and now you have the carbon budgets – unique challenges that are all coming at us at once.

“I’m farming at home, my home farm with my nephew. I’m hugely concerned on a personal level, but also for the rural economy. Whatever is decided needs to be economically sustainable, as well as environmentally sustainable.

“Our whole agri-food sector is the driving economic force behind rural Ireland. If we damage that we destroy the economy in rural Ireland. I as a rural TD, will be doing my damnedest to ensure that we get a fair compromise out of this.”

7.00pm: ‘Irish farming is going down the drain’

Ger Mulhall, a mixed farmer from Laois (on the left in the photo below), questioned why the Government is trying to claim ownership over carbon credits on his farm.

"The forestry carbon credits are my own credits when they are on my land and it's my forestry. Why are the Government trying to claim ownership of them? So they can rob them and give them to multinationals?

"Irish farming is going down the drain, to make way for the big corporations."

Left: Ger Mulhall, Laois, mixed farmer.

Right: Michael Delaney, Kilkenny, beef farmer.

6.30pm: ‘Farmers want to be part of the solution to the energy problem’

Peter Madden, a tillage and beef farmer from Meath, questioned why the Irish Government is not allowing farmers to produce renewable energy to the supply grid.

“Farmers want to be a part of the solution to the energy problem, the Government need to give us the chance,” he says.

Peter Madden, Meath, beef and tillage farmer.

6pm: ‘No other sector is being asked to pay for climate out of their own pocket’

IFA’s south Leinster regional chair Francie Gorman speaks to the crowd in Portlaoise.

5.20pm: ‘It's not farming that's the problem’

Enniscorthy farmers Bertie and Derek Warren explain why they are in Portlaoise today: "Emissions is being hammered at farmers. It's not farming that's the problem.

“Why don't the Department look at the sky and the sea? Do they want food on the table or the tourists in planes?"

Bertie and Derek Warren, Enniscorthy, Wexford.

Jer Mahoney, Wexford IFA county chair, says: "It's death by a thousand cuts for us farmers, climate action, nitrates, CAP.

“Some are laws and some are proposals, but we can't take any more. If all this is implemented, it will make 50% of farms unviable."

Adam Goodwin, Kildare IFA, who has dressed as a skeleton for the event, says: “The absurdity of the Government to talk to us about carbon emissions. We work on the land, we don't commute to work.

Adam Goodwin, Kildare IFA county secretary.

“Most politicians and people commute to work and go on numerous holidays a year via airplane and there is no talk about that. How about we cut their holidays? Farmers alone are not the cause of climate change."

They are among a crowd estimated to be 1,000 gathered in the midlands, with a fourth and final venue, Cork city, still to come this evening.

4.50pm: farmers on the move in Laois

Large numbers on foot in Portlaoise as the protest begins.

Wexford IFA

Portlaoise IFA protest.

4pm: ‘Here for my children and family’

Dairy farmer Niall Claridge, Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, with his family, tells the Irish Farmers Journal: "I'm here to save the future of farming for my children and family."

Maeve and Niall Claridge with children Hannah, Aoife and Richard, Slieverue, Kilkenny.

William Phelan, dairy farmer from Ballacolla, Co Laois, said: “I'm here today because I'm sick of the way farmers are being treated. We have no say.

“We are only told what we should do and we do it. Most of us are doing as much as we can to look after the environment but it's never good enough. "

Farmers are gathering in Portlaoise for the third rally today.

Save Irish Farming protest.

3.30pm: contrasting Government policies on foreign investment and farming

As farmers begin to gather in Portlaoise for the third of four Save Irish Farming protests today, take a moment to read Justin McCarthy’s editorial. In it he writes that there is a stark contrast emerging in Government policy.

“Anything that affects foreign direct investment is untouchable, with the Government prepared to go to great lengths to protect large multinationals.

"On the other hand, farmers and their livelihoods are fair game, with sweeping changes to direct payments and the rollout of flawed environmental policies – with the potential to decimate the sector – not just accepted but often championed by Government,” he writes.

2.45pm: 'Needs to be a future in farming'

David Costello is dairy farming at home with his parents in Kilcolgan, Co Galway.

“There needs to be a future in farming and with the way it’s going, it’s making it very difficult and very hard to entice young people into farming at the minute,” he said.

“The likes of today is no harm and should be done on a regular basis as far as I’m concerned, to try and get our points across and make our voices heard.”

David Costello, Kilcolgan, Co Galway, at the IFA Save Irish Farming rally in Roscommon.

Ned O’Connor, suckler farmer from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, told the Irish Farmers Journal: “We are here today because the Government will not engage with [the] IFA on issues like climate action, CAP reform and support for the suckler cow.”

Ned O’Connor, suckler farmer from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, at the IFA Save Irish Farming rally in Roscommon.

1.30pm: ‘There seems to be no long-term vision’

Farmer Martin Healy has been in touch to share his opinion on Government policy.

"There is a complete lack of leadership in representing how farming in Ireland is actually conducted - predominantly grass-based systems. Bord Bia, Origin Green, what is their purpose if the Government is not backing them up? Why is Government not championing this grass-based approach?" he asks.

"What is Government's strategy for farming in the future?

"Is it to move all to dairy and then plant trees in the west coast? Move everyone from one-off housing to clusters in towns to accommodate the wilding? It's hard to understand what the plan is. What is the 10-year plan for agriculture?

"There is so much done to improve farming in Ireland and there is so much left to do, but what is the strategy to bring it forward. There seems to be no long-term vision, let's get CAP done, let's get carbon budgets done and then let's see where we are.

"It's no way to run a business and they are letting thousands of livelihoods down with this short-term view."

What do you think? You can share your opinion with us here:

12.30pm: ‘Enough is enough’ – Tim Cullinan

Speaking outside the Department of Agriculture buildings in Roscommon, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said "enough is enough" for farmers.

He says CAP, the nitrates and climate change are all going to affect farm incomes. It will cut production and add "substantial costs" on to farming.

The IFA will fight the threat to reduce cattle numbers in Ireland. "It won't happen on my watch," he pledged.

A large crowd of over 300 farmers has gathered in the town, travelling from counties Roscommon, Sligo, Longford, Mayo and more.

12:10pm: crowd moves towards Department of Agriculture offices

There are at least 300 farmers on the ground in Roscommon at the moment, following a crowd of more than 200 at the early morning Cavan rally.

11.58am: ‘Today is about saving Irish farms’

Roscommon IFA chair Jim O’Connor speaking to farmers before they move off in Roscommon. Their destination is the local Department of Agriculture office.

11.40am: ‘We need to stand up’

Mike Coyne, a dairy farmer from Knockcroghery, Co Roscommon, says he is "here today to oppose the strict regulations coming down the line around the nitrates directive".

Mike Coyne, Roscommon.

James Gleeson, a suckler and sheep farmer from Roscommon adds: "We need to stand up. We're facing huge challenges from CAP reform and the environment. Going forward, it’s really vital for our future."

James Gleeson, Roscommon.

11:10am: next stop, Roscommon

Farmers are gathering in Roscommon now, for part two of the four-venue protest.

Jim O'Connor, Roscommon IFA chair, tells Irish Farmers Journal deputy news editor Amy Forde that the suckler herd is the mainstay of Roscommon farming.

Jim O'Connor, Roscommon IFA chair.

“All enterprises are threatened. We will do what we can to defend family farms,” he says, when asked why farmers are gathering in the town today.

Rose Mary McDonagh, chair of the IFA’s farm business committee, says the Government must ensure the viability of family farm incomes to sustain families.

“We need to support farming and stand up for the viability of family farms,” she says.

10:20am: ‘Listen to what farmers actually want’

Westmeath farmer Claudia Marl was in Cavan to support the IFA protest and draw attention to the forestry licensing problems.

“It’s very hard to earn some money the way it is and it shouldn’t get worse for the future, it should get better,” she told the Irish Farmers Journal.

She has gotten out of goat farming just this week due to prices falling. “It’s a very sad thing for me to say my goats are gone this week.”

On forestry, she says it is difficult to get licences for forestry planting, roads and harvesting.

“There needs to be a big movement to make it much easier for the farmer,” she said.

Westmeath farmer Claudia Marl was in Cavan to raise issues about both farming and forestry.

9:40am: ‘We’re fighting for our living here’

Cavan IFA county chair Elizabeth Ormiston, tells Adam Woods that she and other farmers are rallying to tell the Government to pay attention to farmers.

Convergence, eco schemes and the possibility of the front-loading CRISS scheme are all going to put her farm under pressure, she says.

“Eco schemes are going to be the final nail in the coffin,” she says.

On the environment, Ormiston says €80m has been spent by farmers on low-emission slurry equipment, while dairy farmers have spent over €2bn updating their slurry storage and milking equipment.

“Then on the other hand we have the forestry shambles, organic farmers who can’t get into [the scheme], not to mention the microgeneration and all the sheds in the country that we could have solar panels on.”

Hear what Elizabeth told the Irish Farmers Journal this morning:

9:15am: Matt Carthy on farmers’ concerns

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin’s agriculture spokesperson, tells the Irish Farmers Journal he’s in Cavan to hear what farmers have to say.

Carthy says he knows farmers are very concerned about what climate action measures the Government might take and how it will affect them.

“There’s absolutely no question that farmers want to play their part but they want to make sure that they are fair, measured and also sustainable,” says Carthy, pointing to a potential Budget 2022 hike in carbon taxes next week at a time when all farm inputs have risen in price.

Hear what he had to say in Cavan to Adam Woods:

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8:50am Tim Culinan addresses the gathered farmers in Cavan

Cullinan accuses Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue of “going on tour” after the CAP deal was gone.

Eco schemes are “robbing” 25% of farmers’ money, and the IFA cannot agree to that, he says.

He calls for more funding from the Government for co-financing, €300/cow suckler supports, sheep supports and a simpler environmental scheme.

8.21am: Farmers arriving in Cavan to hear from IFA president Tim Cullinan

7.50am: Update from the convoy

Gavin White from Longford IFA is on the move and urging other farmers to follow their lead later today.

7.48am: Farmers are on the move in Cavan

7:40am: ‘Department of Agriculture needs to have common sense’

Cavan farmer Pat Clarke thinks action should have been taken before now to protect the suckler herd. He tells Adam Woods why he’s supporting the protest. Comparing the fate of native American Indians on their land to what’s happening Irish suckler farmers, he says they are trying to push farmers on to a reservation.

7.35am: Farmers prepare to drive around Cavan town

7.15am: ‘Eco schemes cut is gone beyond what we can take’

Donegal farmers explain why they have travelled from Donegal to Cavan to take part in one of today’s protests.

7.05am: ‘We’re not going to take this lying down’

Irish Farmers Journal beef editor Adam Woods is in Cavan as farmers gather for the first protest. He spoke to Tim Cullinan, who said they are sending a clear message to Government today.

7:00: ‘It’s time Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stood up to the Greens’

IFA president Tim Cullinan said the Government would be making a massive strategic mistake if farmers are forced to cut production in this country.

“Whether it’s the shape of the next CAP, carbon budgeting or sectoral emissions ceilings, it’s time Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stood up to the Greens. Their ideological opposition to the grass-based farming we have in this country must be challenged,” he said, ahead of the four-venue rally.

The IFA president said farmers have been unfairly targeted in the climate debate.

“There is little or no consideration given to the role farmers play in climate action, and in sequestering carbon in particular,” he said. “Now they tell us that when they are able to count the carbon farmers are removing from the atmosphere, the State is planning to steal those carbon credits,” he said.

“Those who want to regulate farmers out of business refuse to acknowledge that there will be carbon leakage from reducing production in Ireland. The global population is due to increase from 7.5bn to 10bn by 2050. If food is not produced in Ireland, it will have to be produced in other countries with a higher carbon footprint,” he said.

Farmer frustration is spilling onto the streets on Friday as the first of four IFA protests gets under way in Cavan.

Resentment at being targeted on climate change, anger over CAP losses and fears that tighter nitrates regulations will erode profitability have combined to fuel the farmer revolt.

Farmers and tractors are expected in Cavan, Roscommon, Portlaoise and Cork on Friday morning for a rolling series of IFA protests.

In our live blog, we will bring you the latest photos, videos, news and views from all four venues.

IFA president Tim Cullinan sat down with senior news correspondent Declan O’Brien this week to discuss why farmers need to take this action and what they want to achieve from it.

The Tipperary man vowed that “if we have to go to Dublin then we will go to Dublin”.

IFA president Tim Cullinan. \ Philip Doyle

Westmeath farmers gather at the IFA rally in Cavan to show their anger over Government policy.

Tim Cullinan, Brian Rushe, Elizabeth Ormiston and Nigel Reneghan lead the IFA rally in Cavan to show their anger over Government policy.