A go-slow protest by farmers driving tractors and other farm machinery caused major traffic delays in Dublin this evening.

Delays were reported southbound on the M50 from the M1/M50 interchange past Junction 5 Finglas where all lanes were blocked.

This evening, AA Roadwatch said traffic eased as the demonstration had moved off the M50 southbound.

Delays also affected the Port Tunnel. AA Roadwatch said this had a knock-on effect on many major routes on the northside of the city. 

Earlier, the tractorcade left St Stephen's Green and Merrion Square in Dublin, where around 100 tractors and agricultural vehicles were parked overnight.

Organisers from the Individual Farmers of Ireland group said they did not want to block the motorway completely today but they wanted to leave their mark on Dublin.

AA Ireland described this evening's traffic delays on the M50 and other routes as "disruptive and frustrating to commuters". 

Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Ireland said that the protest moving onto the M50 was unfortunate, and that commuters were "collateral damage". 

He said people do have the right to protest and that is respected, but that he would call on the organisers to reflect on their campaign and the tactics they have used. 

This is the second protest by this new group since last November.

It is not supported by the main farming organisations.

The protest is over issues around pricing, carbon tax and traceability.

In a statement this evening, the gardaí said their main objective in dealing with the protest was to ensure the safety of the public.

"An Garda Síochána has a role in ensuring that peaceful protests can take place, and also in preventing injury and protecting life. We respect people's right to peaceful protest and will facilitate same. Gardaí attend protests to facilitate free movement of traffic and to prevent any breaches of the peace.

"Gardaí are tasked with preserving law and order, without fear or favour, and with ensuring that people can go about their lawful business, including having access to their work place, and that peaceful protest can also take place."