Concern has been expressed that the mental health of farmers is at “an all-time low”.
Organisers behind last week’s protest at the Kepak meat factory in Tiermaclane say more than 2,000 farmers took to the picket line in the space of a week as the ongoing dispute between them and meat processing plants continues.
Adare native Muireann Hannon was among those protesting, she explained her reasons for joining those on the picket line. “I’m here to make a stand for the people that went before me and myself, there is a lot of farming families on the line at the moment, they can’t afford to live like these factory people and I’m here to try help the community”.
A music teacher, Muireann farms full-time during the school holidays. She was hopeful their actions would lead to an increase in the amount of money farmers receive for their product. “Factories need to speak to the farmers and understand where it’s coming from and that meat will not be reproduced in this country in the future and their livelihood will be gone, the wheel has to turn for something to happen”.
By attending the protest with her partner, Hannon was upset to uncover all is not well with farmers in Co Clare. “There’s a massive change in the relationship between farmers and the factories, there was one time the farmers were welcomed into the factories and they were happy with their prices, now they have no point really going in. Farmers’ mental health is at an all-time low, speaking to the people here a lot of them just want to give up the ghost, it’s sad to be here listening to it”.
“At least you feel like you are helping them in some way and try bring up their spirits and let them know they are not on their own”.