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The wonderful thing about growing up in Rural Ireland is the variety of experience one gets to gratify themselves with seeing the seasons progress and the cycle of creation and destruction that is at the very essence of nature.

For many young country people they also get to do their stint away from home living, studying and working in the cities or provincial towns of Ireland. This gives a greater acceptance and awareness of how other people live and breeds a sense of decency and tolerance towards the situations of others.

However what I’m seeing more and more of is a lack of tolerance for our culture and way of living. Much of this uninformed bigotry towards farmers and dwellers of the countryside can be seen in the recent objection to the building of the Glanbia cheese factory in Belview. It now feels as if the marginalisation of rural life is reaching a crescendo.

A friend of mine recently got the news out of the blue that from next year he would not be able to continue to supply milk in the peak months of production at similar levels to the current year. He was told that this was due to An Taisce’s objection to the development of a cheese factory in Belview to process all this milk. The young man is a new entrant only two years into dairying, he has built up a thriving dairy business on the back of good cows, good grass, good husbandry but also farming with nature and producing milk from grazed grass. He now has limited options but to reduce next years spring cow numbers or to split the herd and let some of his cows calve in late summer to reduce his peak production of milk for April, May and June.

He and his father have invested and continue to invest large amounts of capital in facilities and land improvement. Most of this was based on a well thought out business plan that was built around milking 120 spring calving cows for 2022. Now he will have to calve a chunk of these cows in the summer/autumn period. This will make for a much less financially sustainable situation as it will require more bought in inputs and more diesel being burnt to feed these winter milking cows.

An Taisce objected to the plant on the grounds of the damage Dairy farming would do to the environment so now by this they will have moved a large percentage of our milk production towards winter in turn doing the opposite. An Taisce has a line about how one of their functionaries is “protecting Ireland’s treasures” in their eyes Ireland’s farmers and the environment are not treasures.

An Taisce’s appalling doctrine sees progressive farming as an unnecessary evil and is allowed to reek havoc on rural dwellers and their livelihoods all in the name of greenwashing under the banner of ill thought out nonsense. Most of the key staff in An Taisce are Dublin based and know little of rural life. When are we going to start discussing the marginalisation of rural people by these unaccountable and un-elected organisations.

It is time for rural Ireland to get its voice again and not be pushed to the side on the issues that are most pertinent to its people. If any other demographic in Ireland were being so discriminated against by an organisation, there would be an outcry against it. However you can push anything through in the name of environmentalism no matter how ill conceived.

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