It has come to my attention over the past few days that farmers in different counties and especially in the West of Ireland who had applied to erect fencing on mountainous areas have seen objections being lodged by An Taisce and by other so-called environmental groups. Do these groups not realise that it is with the co-operation of farmers throughout the country that people get to walk on hills and on greenways that go through their land? This situation is really serious now and the major farming organisations need to wake up to the fact that farmers are now being blocked at every angle, and all they are doing is trying to farm their land in accordance with the EU laws and directives. It is now high time that these fundamentalist environmental groups decide to work with farmers and not against them and to stop these needless objections. If the situation as it stands persists, the countryside will be closed down to tourists and others who want to walk hills and farmland. There is a slogan ‘Keep Ireland Open’ but one thing is for certain if the environmental lobby groups continue the way they are going, calls will be made from farmers to shut down access to walkers and tourists. What is going on is very wrong, and farmers are being treated disgracefully and the expense that they are being put to. I will also be asking the Government to cut the funding that they are giving to these environmental groups who are causing huge problems in rural parts of Ireland.
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