Well that was a turn out for the books!

Who would have thought! Fair enough, the opening of the new section of the M6 between Athlone and Ballinasloe is great news for anyone heading west. But who would have thought the farmers would hijack it?

To be honest I’m only delighted they did. The sight of 500 farmers turning up to boo and heckle Briano, is to be honest, refreshing.

In case you haven’t heard, and who hasn’t, members of the Irish Farmers Association descended on the new motorway section yesterday (Thursday ) to voice their opinion on the closing off of REPS 4 and cuts to the Disadvantaged Area Scheme.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet decided to exclude new applicants to the fourth round of the Reps with little, if any, warning. Farmers say closing entry to the scheme will devastate livelihoods.

As Briano started some spiel about how great the road is, which of course it is, the farmers booed and heckled him, drowning the Taoiseach out.

Not that he’s going to go home and worry about it. That man most have seriously thick skin. All around the country people’s lives are being torn apart due to a loss of income, and with no light at the end of the tunnel, people are nervous, scared, and generally a bit depressed.

It almost feels like Briano and co have no real concept of what’s going on. And although there’s no FF tent next week at the Galway Races, there’s no doubt the boyos will be living it up! It’s sickening, and that’s why we all need to follow the farmers and protest.

Speaking at the M6 opening, IFA regional development officer Adrian Levy said that the major demonstration was orgainsed by local farmers in protest at major cuts in funding to disadvantaged areas, as well as the closing off of the REPS 4 scheme. “We wanted to give Brian Cowen a clear message,” explained Mr Levy. “The Taoiseach did speak to some of the farmers after the opening, but made no promises. We have shown him the real effect of these cuts on dairy farmers and the rural areas,” he added.

The message has been given but will it be listened to?

Remember the next budget is only a couple of months away. Who knows what lovely surprises it will hold. If we don’t stand up now and demand fair and realistic solutions to this country’s problems, we’re the ones who will suffer. Not the boyos in Leinster House.

 

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