Coveney delivers ninth biennial Michael Dillon Memorial Lecture

The Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland hosted the ninth biennial Michael Dillon Memorial Lecture at a black-tie event in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin tonight, Friday, February 21.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, delivered this year’s lecture which was followed by an interview with RTÉ broadcaster, Sean O’Rourke.

The lecture, which takes place every two years, is organised by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland with the support of the Kerry Group.

The event was attended by key figures from the Irish agriculture and farming industry along with members of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists.

Speaking at tonight’s event, Tánaiste and former minister for agriculture, Simon Coveney, said: ‘‘The agri-food sector remains Ireland’s most important indigenous industry, contributing €13.7 billion to our economy.

During the last 10 years, exports have increased by an astounding 74% and our produce is enjoyed the world over – exported to over 180 markets in 2018.

Commenting on Brexit, the Tánaiste said: “With the UK’s withdrawal now complete, the next stage of Brexit will require us to work on two fronts, securing agreement on a future EU-UK relationship and preparing for the changes this will bring.”

Amy Forde, southern chair of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, said: “‘As journalists and communicators in the agriculture sector, we are used to dealing with challenges; be it getting to grips with a changing media landscape to reporting and analysing Brexit, climate change and the next CAP [Common Agricultural Policy], among other things.

“Last year alone was one full of challenges for the sector and someone that has been to the forefront of those challenges over the last number of years has been the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney.

We are delighted that he has offered his unique perspective on the challenges facing our industry both from within and outside our country.

Concluding, she said: “We are honoured that he has given his time and offered such a frank and informed outlook which was hugely engaging for all attendees.”

About Michael Dillon

The late Michael Dillon was one of Ireland’s foremost agricultural journalists and broadcasters and a founding member of the Irish Guild of Agricultural Journalists in 1961.

The first lecture was delivered by former EU Agriculture Commissioner Ray MacSharry in 2003.