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Farmers feel abandoned by Govt, IFA president tells AGM

The new president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has said political parties cannot take farmers for granted as local, European and national elections approach.

Francie Gorman, who takes over as president of the association today, said farmers feel abandoned and let down by the current Government.

Addressing the IFA’s 69th AGM, he said farmers need a greater say in the Irish and EU policy that affects them and that they must be rewarded for the positive role they play in delivering on Ireland’s environmental ambitions as they adapt and invest in their farms.

He said farmers are portrayed too often in inaccurate and unfair ways and claimed Ireland is one “of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly food producing nations on the planet”.

He also criticised retailers who have begun to offer discounts on food, saying nobody is fooled by their claim that they take the monetary hit on these offers.

Mr Gorman said it is farmers who end up paying and urged retailers to publish data on margins and profits, and if they do not, he called on the new Agri Food Regulator to get “stuck in”.

He said negotiation will always be his starting point, but with the support of the IFA National Council he will be prepared to do “whatever it takes to deliver for farmers”.

Later today the AGM will be addressed by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

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