Young Waterford farmers taking part in overnight walk to Government Buildings

Young Waterford farmers taking part in overnight walk to Government Buildings

A walk took place overnight from Athy in County Kildare to Dublin to highlight issues facing rural Ireland.

The event was organised by Macra na Feirme to seek support for various rural issues.

Shane Fitzgerald, Chair of Waterford Macra and a member of the organisation's national Ag Affairs committee, took part.

"This morning we're departing from the Irish Farm Centre at 11.30," Shane told WLR News, "and we plan to arrive in Merrion Square at around 1 o'clock.


"There are going to be speeches outside government buildings from our president, John Keane, our incoming president, Elaine Houlihan, and also from the chairpeople from our Ag Affairs and Rural Youth Committees."

Waterford young farmers among those taking part in an overnight walk from Athy to Government Buildings with Macra na Feirme

It has been organised mainly by those two committees to highlight the plight of young farmers who are worried they have been forgotten.


They are pressing the government to take action on eight issues.

"Access to affordable housing, and the inconsistencies around the planning guidelines," are among the problems, according to president-elect, Elaine Houlihan.

She says other areas that need addressing are "the sparse healthcare in rural Ireland, the lack of planning for the future of rural Ireland involving rural people, the quotas being put on young farmers when it comes to grant-aid, the definition of a family farm, and we also have the rewetting of land and the lack of transport for rural Ireland."

Returning to Shane Fitzgerald, a young farmer from Portlaw, he says those participating in the walk are hoping politicians will hear their concerns when they reach Government Buildings later.

"All the TDs have been informed of what's happening," he said. "There has been positive response - I think we got back positive responses from 45 of the TDs, so there's going to be lots of engagement outside of the buildings.

"We're hoping that they might turn out just to support us as well because the more numbers we have, the better.

"Charlie McConologue, the Minister for Agriculture, will be there and also Ministers Pippa Hackett and Martin Hayden. It's important that we have numbers there to support us."

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