The lack of a stable Government four weeks after a general election is damaging to agriculture, according to Henry Burns.
The IFA presidential candidate and IFA National Livestock Chairman said Ireland’s agriculture sector requires stability, focus and certainty and he’s “extremely concerned” at the lack of progress in forming a government.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the prospect of a stable, functioning government is growing less likely. The numbers don’t add up.”
“If a regime is cobbled together, there’s a huge question mark over how long any Government might last,” he said.
“We’ve yet to see a single word of agreed agriculture policy for any future government and that has to be the key concern.”
Burns said that key agricultural issues require immediate attention of a minister who can focus all of his attention on his portfolio.
“The first thing we need is a minister for agriculture only but we need a minister who isn’t constantly looking over his shoulder, second-guessing his partners in government and wondering how long before he has to go for re-election.”
“We need a minister in Europe agitating for a strong milk intervention price and pushing the competition authority to take action on the stranglehold in retail and processing sectors.“
“We need a minister who can fearlessly push for a restoration of the national agriculture budget and not see it further cut in a bid to promote other sectoral demands,” Burns said.
“There’s huge pressure on farm income, which stands at 67% now of what it was in 1995. It’s not sustainable for the industry that effectively single-handedly pulled the country out of recession.”
“Incomes of 125,000 farm families need the immediate focused attention of a dedicated minister,” Burns said.
“The last thing this industry needs is further turmoil,” he said.
“It’s all the more important that going into these uncertain times, the new leadership of IFA will be strong, experienced, effective and stable.”