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Farmers bring central Dublin to a halt with tractor protest against ‘climate change initiatives’ – ‘We can’t keep getting blamed for climate change’

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Farmers shut down busy parts of central Dublin for a second successive day on Wednesday by parking dozens of tractors in the streets to protest against low beef prices and climate change initiatives they say are unfair.

Protesting farmers Seamus McCaul, Mary Cooney and Frankie McCaul from Cavan hold a sign outside the Shelbourne Hotel, as they block St Stephen’s Green with their tractors, in Dublin, Ireland November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Lorraine O’Sullivan

The farmers arrived on tractors from all over the country on Tuesday for a planned protest in a cordoned off area but instead parked their vehicles in the very center of the city and refused to leave until the agriculture minister met them.

Some slept in their vehicles overnight, many parked outside the luxury Shelbourne Hotel on the corner of St. Stephen’s Green, one of the main bus routes into the city.

Police warned commuters that a number of the city’s main thoroughfares, including Kildare Street, the seat of parliament, were closed to traffic. The city’s bus operator told passengers to expect delays on all routes.

“We’ll sit here for many more nights if we have to but this has got to stop and we have to start getting paid for our produce,” said Nicholas Hughes, a 53-year-old dairy farmer from Moylough in County Galway who stayed awake all night in his tractor.

“It’s the only thing we can do, we’re gone if we don’t do this. We can’t stay producing food below the cost of production and we can’t keep getting blamed for climate change. This is about the death of rural Ireland, it’s dying on its feet as we speak.”

The protest was similar to one staged on Wednesday by French farmers in Paris, although the events were not coordinated.