Cullinan to take reins at IFA AGM today as party leaders gather

Tipperary farmer Tim Cullinan will take the reins as president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) at the organisation’s 65th annual general meeting (AGM) which will begin later today, Monday, January 27.

The two-day event will open at 11:30am this morning in the Irish Farm Centre, at Bluebell, Dublin 12, with three political party leaders expected to make addresses at the meeting tomorrow.

Taking over as 16th president of the IFA from Joe Healy, Cullinan will make his inaugural speech to the meeting, setting out the key issues for farmers and his objectives.

This will be based on the IFA submission to the political parties and Dáil candidates.

The objective of the next Government must be to ensure that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments across Pillar I and Pillar II are increased from their current level of €1.8 billion to €2 billion per annum, and the maximum level of national co-financing is invested, according to the association.

On Brexit, the IFA’s submission seeks: the closest possible trading relationship with the UK; a level-playing field; a second Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme to cover losses post-May 12; and a fund to cover losses arising from a no deal.

The IFA National Council will also scrutinise the position of party leaders on climate action, following last week’s climate event.

The organisation outlined its position that the next Government must “follow the science around agriculture and climate”.

This, it says, means recognising that there must be a different way to account for methane and that full credit is given to farmers for carbon sequestration.

The election for national treasurer and returning officer will take place in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, three party leaders will address the national council, including: Michéal Martin; Eamon Ryan; and Leo Varadkar.

The first speaker, Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin, will address the council at 1:00pm; he will be followed by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan at 3:00pm.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be the last speaker, who will address the council at 6:00pm, according to the IFA.