Everyone has the right to protest and it's important that we listen to each other. No particular group or person has a monopoly over the fight for better pay and better working condition.
Some folk took to the radio today, other's to Twitter denouncing the farmer protest. The main theme was that farmers deserve no sympathy for continuously voting for Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. Again the reality of the situation is very different. Trends show that there has been a gradual move away from voting for these two parties.
However they maintain strong voting bases in the most populated counties, and in particular our three largest cities. I've done some quick numbers to evidence this (might be slightly wrong because I did it in a rush, but it's accurate enough for the purpose of this).
Ultimately what this quick data evidences is that farmers are no more responsible for voting FF/FG than the rest of the country, and to say otherwise is ludicrous. The government has a strong support base in the capital city and also has two Dublin independent TDs (Shane Ross and Katherine Zappone) supporting the FG coalition, both holding ministerial positions.
The trend to look for alternative voices and more personal representation will continue, election 2020 will bring about a new government in Ireland, it may be fragmented and involve more coalition partners than what we're used to. This has been encouraged by grass roots campaigns such as right to water, equal marriage, and the abortion campaign. People express their values more freely these days. Social media has been a huge player in this change also, politicians are constantly under the spotlight now, and it's fair to say that technology has created more transparency and accountability in politics.
So next time you meet a farmer driving their tractor in Dublin, go over to them and give them a big How Ya. Give them your support and ask them to vote out the old cronies to make a real difference, you might even be surprised with what they tell you.