Ireland's powerful farming lobby has pitted itself against the country's IR£6bn (£4.8bn) road building programme in an escalating row over compensation payments for land. The 85,000-strong Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is telling its members to refuse access to their land for any work connected with road building. It is demanding more than the compensation rates being offered. Road building will affect around 8,000 farmers and 10,000ha of land, it claimed. The Irish Business Employers' Confederation (IBEC), attacked the farmers for ignoring the national interest and urged the government to suspend subsidies to farmers who obstruct road schemes, provoking a furious response from the IFA. IBEC said the demands would mean a doubling of compensation to IR£400M (£320M). Irish environment minister Noel Dempsey told the Dail on Tuesday that discussions with farmers' groups about compulsory purchase arrangements were continuing.