The Taoiseach and three ministers have “responded positively” to the concerns and solutions Macra put forward at the final leg of its 79km march from Athy to “the gates of power” yesterday (Wednesday).
The Steps for Our Future protest has resulted in an official invite to government buildings to meet An Taoiseach, Minister McConalogue, Minister Haydon and Minister Hackett.
Macra was represented by its president, John Keane, its president-elect, Elaine Houlihan, the chair of the rural youth committee, Niamh Farrell, the chair of the agricultural affairs committee, Liam Hanrahan, Shane Dolphin and Mick Curran, CEO of Macra.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the rural youth organisation told this publication:
“Having been warmly welcomed by An Taoiseach, Macra were afforded the opportunity to outline their concerns and the solutions that they were bringing to the table.”
“The delegation raised its concerns in relation to the future of rural Ireland in respect of the eight areas of concern that its members had marched for.”
Macra president, John Keane said: “We had a positive engagement with the Taoiseach and the Ministers.”
“We feel that considerable progress has been made in the areas of a definition of a family farm and also in the area of the creation of a succession scheme for farmers,” he added.
“The Taoiseach also made a commitment to meet Macra again to address its concerns in relation to the eight points as raised in 2 – 3 months’ time so that progress can be measured.”
“Macra welcomes the commitment from government to continue to work with Macra in a constructive manner to save rural Ireland,” he concluded.
8 key issues
The rural youth organisation has 8 key issues, which it delivered, along with a raft of solutions to government yesterday afternoon.
- Accessing affordable housing and cumbersome housing planning guidelines;
- Disjointed healthcare services for rural communities;
- The government’s definition of a family farm as ‘average’ and ‘typical’;
- No recognition or engagement by government on a farming succession scheme;
- Lack of planning for the future of our rural communities informed by rural people;
- Imposition of quotas on Young farmers availing of grant aid support;
- Lack of public transport for rural Ireland;
- Proposals to rewet large areas of rural Ireland.