Protesting farmers on Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green last night and this morning; Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed meeting some of the protesters
As farmers continue to protest outside Leinster House, tractors continue to block a number of roads around Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.
The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed did meet with some of the farmers for about 10 minutes at 7.30am this morning but one farmer told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he didn’t meet with the group’s official delegation assigned to meet him.
Prior to Mr Creed’s meeting on the street, one of the protesting farmers, from Carlow, told Morning Ireland earlier that the protest was organised last Friday.
“This could have been avoided because last Friday, the people that were organising this protest, they gave the Government an option to call off the protest for the injunctions over two men to be lifted.”
“…how long we’re going to be here? We’ve had no contact from Government at all.”
Asked what he’d like the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to do, the farmer said:
“We don’t want him to do a whole lot, just come out and meet us and hear what we have to say and just want to know why the injunctions haven’t been lifted and why the task force started hasn’t been up and running yet.”
A separate farmer told Morning Ireland:
“I came up at 10.30am last night [Tuesday night]. Rural Ireland is forgotten about, completely by the city I think. No harm to the people living up here, I think they’re living in a bit of a bubble.
“The infrastructure, the roads, farmers, smaller shops, publicans, everyone, hauliers, everyone, just completely forgotten about.”
RTÉ’s Agriculture Correspondent Fran McNulty later spoke to Bryan Dobson about the meeting between Mr Creed and some of the farmers – during which an audio clip of Mr Creed’s meeting was played.
Fran McNulty: “Quite a surprise this morning Bryan when at about 7.30am, Minister Creed left his office, which is just a stone’s throw from the main blockade here on Merrion Square. He walked up Kildare Street, he met with around 20 or 30 farmers, for around 10 minutes or so.
“He took everybody by surprise. Many of the main people who’d been appointed to speak with the minister weren’t here, it was a 10-minute exchange, it was unpleasant at times…”
Bryan Dobson: “The farm organisations aren’t involved in this. There’s an issue about who he would negotiate with, to bring this protest to an end. But what are the farmers involved saying, what was their reaction?”
McNulty: “Well it wasn’t good, Bryan. You heard somebody there, earlier on, say that ‘all we want is the minister to come out and meet us’. That’s exactly what he did this morning. Yet many of the farmers here this morning are saying ‘that is simply not good enough, he caught us off guard, he caught by surprise’.
“There’s even a dispute here, this morning, Bryan, a letter was submitted to the minister by one group. Another group is now saying ‘that’s not the letter, it’s not our letter, we need to give the minister our letter and until he signs our letter, we’re going nowhere’.
“So there’s quite a lot of disunity among those who are protesting here and that’s because you don’t have structures of the established organisations in place.
“So the farmers are quite unhappy. We spoke to one of them just a few minutes ago. He met with the minister face to face, his name is Jarlath [inaudible]. He’s from Tulsk in Co Roscommon.”
Jarlath: “I think it was a silly move on his behalf. Because yesterday evening, we send five delegates down to meet him and he refused to meet them and he came up here this morning, when he knew RTÉ and the reporters wasn’t here and he met 40 or 50 farmers and he said an awful lot but said nothing, he said nothing.”
McNulty: “He has met you though, he’s come here…”
Jarlath: “He has what? No, he has not met us. He met the farmers but he didn’t meet the delegation that he was to meet yesterday evening and until he does, we’ll be here.”
McNulty: “Is it not enough that the minister would walk out of his office and up the street and meet face to face with farmers here?”
Jarlath: “No, I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so. You can’t talk to a crowd of people. You can’t get your issues across with a crowd of people. We all have different issues, we’re all farmers. You must sit down and you talk to delegated people. That’s the only way you can get an end to it.”
McNulty: “So you’re not going anywhere, despite the fact he came out to see you?”
Jarlath: “I’m afraid not. Now there’s some of us who stayed all night, we have to go home, but we have replacements coming. Like no one will leave unless their replaced.”
Later Mr Dobson asked Mr McNulty about the injunctions that were referred to in Morning Ireland’s earlier report.
Mr McNulty explained these are injunctions related to C&D Pet Foods in Edgeworthstown in Co Longford, preventing protesters from blockading the premises of the pet food manufacturer.
He also recalled that, yesterday in the Dáil, Mr Creed claimed that death threats had been made against management at the C&D Pet Food.
However, Mr McNulty said that, according to “Garda sources”, no complaint about death threats has been made by the company.
Listen back in full here
Meanwhile, AA Roadwatch reports:
A number of significant closures are in place in the south city centre for a demonstration, including around St Stephen’s Green. Stephen’s Green East and North are closed along with Kildare St and Dawson St.
Leeson St outbound is closed, but traffic can currently use St Stephen’s Green South to go from Leeson St inbound to Cuffe St. The Kevin St/Cuffe St stretch is closed to traffic heading towards Stephen’s Green.
Elsewhere, Merrion Square South and East, and Merrion St Upper are also closed.
Yesterday: What’s On The Grill?
Minister Creed meeting Kildare farmer John Dallon at the Department of Agriculture this morning.