In a statement issued following the end of a nationwide series of Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) presidential debates, deputy presidential candidate Brian Rushe has emphasised: “Farm incomes are the absolute priority for me.”

From his time as the IFA chairperson for Kildare / west Wicklow, Rush outlined he has “dealt with all the sectors”.

He outlined: “I have worked hand-in-hand with tillage and horticulture farmers in south Kildare. I have fought alongside dairy farmers throughout the county.

I have given my all for suckling, beef finishing and sheep farming in all parts of my county executive and I have stood alongside the hill sheep farmers in west Wicklow.

“I have stood with farmers from across all these sectors and at the very centre of all farmers in this broad range of sectors, the number one challenge has been farm incomes, the Co. Kildare dairy farmer outlined.

Farm income is my number one, my number two and my number three priority.

He added: “In the past number of years, farmers have gone from being drivers of positive economic and environmental change to being now treated as climate criminals. That’s a fight we must take on and win.

“Finally, we must and will communicate better without membership. The IFA membership is our strongest asset.”

Concluding, Rushe stressed: “We need to keep them informed on everything we are doing for them and, critically, I pledge to listen to what our membership wants from their IFA.”