The present Irish farmer has proven over the last number of years that he is one of the finest producers of quality food in the world. By his dedication to his work in adapting to modern revolutionary methods and long hours in caring for his animals’ health and dietary needs he is first class.
In the past we could not feed eight million people. Now the Irish farmer produces enough food to feed forty five million people. He also employs three quarters of the country’s workforce in processing and service industries.
Because of this, and his almost one hundred percent endeavour to be law abiding in business and in all his farm and community work, it is sad to see the government treat him so badly.
In the UK and other countries fox hunting over farmland is banned, Why not in Ireland? Why not support the farmer and accord him some respect for his efforts? The damage done caused by foxhunts to farm property, fences, crops, grass, land, and livestock has been well documented and publicised. Why will our public representatives not act to protect our vitally important farming industry?
I know of farmers whose pedigree herds have been devastated by hunt incursions and others whose sheep flocks were virtually wiped out by these rural vandals on horseback. Two County Kilkenny farmers I know have for years patiently and meticulously recorded hunt havoc on their land:
Extensive damage, assaults by marauding hunts-people, being defamed in the presence of witnesses. Earlier this year hunt supporters placed bed springs in their silage, damaging a valuable mower.
These men took legal proceedings over the defamation, won the case, were awarded 30,000 Euro but as yet have not received a cent of the compensation awarded. One of them had his wrist broken when assaulted by a prominent hunt supporter, impairing his ability to work on his farm.
They have also been subjected to death threats on internet sites. They have incurred huge legal expenses due to this persistent harassment and bullying by hunts-people.
And who did this to them: None other than the foxhunters who are a law unto themselves, who ride roughshod over farmers and their property and routinely tear down “No Hunting” signs. Foxhunters break and enter with impunity, and vandalise to their hearts’ content. This is nothing less than criminal damage punishable by law, yet foxhunters appear to be immune from prosecution.
And now we see people like Presidential Candidate Gavin Duffy giving moral support to foxhunters in his radio and newspaper interviews.
I ask: Do we want such a person as President of Ireland? Surely our country deserves better. Michael Higgins has been a wonderful President, promoting our culture and heritage at the highest levels and has done us proud as a nation.
The last thing we need is “Duffy’s Circus” running the country, with proverbial clowns on horseback wreaking havoc in the countryside!