Deep frustration among farmers manifested itself into thousands taking to the streets around the country on Thursday night, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Francie Gorman said.

There will have to be a fundamental reset in the way that farm policy is designed and implemented, Gorman argued following the association's solidarity protest for EU counterparts.

“Time and again, we have seen a level of complexity introduced that does not take account of the practicalities of day-to-day farming.

"One example would be the failure to pay farmers who are doing excellent work for the environment through the ACRES scheme. It’s simply not good enough and shows a lack of understanding of how these schemes work and deliver for farmers,” he said.

Red tape

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged on Thursday that red tape has to be cut, he added.

“This in itself is an admission that there is a problem, but the words have to be matched by actions.

“The CAP budget is completely insufficient. We need increased funding to support both food production and environmental ambition. The Commission has to engage directly with farmers on how this will be done,” he said.

He also argued that it is time for the European Commission and our own Government to start to engage in proper consultation with farmers that takes on board their concerns rather than the top-down approach, "as we saw with the farcical handling of the nitrates derogation".

The IFA will be holding meetings in the coming weeks with the Minister for Agriculture and the Taoiseach.

“We will reflect the anger and frustration that exists among farmers. The onus is on the Minister to respond in a way that farmers can see a tangible change in the approach that brings some common sense to the way farm policy is devised,” he concluded.