RTÉ News has announced this afternoon the appointment of George Lee as its Agriculture and Environment Correspondent.

Currently a correspondent on RTÉ’s Prime Time and presenter of The Business on RTÉ Radio 1, George began working as a journalist in RTÉ in 1992. He won the Journalist of the Year award in 1998 for uncovering a major tax evasion and over-charging scandal in the National Irish Bank. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Formally RTÉ Economics Editor, he took leave of absence from RTÉ in May 2009 and subsequently was elected as a Fine Gael TD in South Dublin. He returned to RTÉ in May 2010. He presented a wide range of documentaries for RTÉ Television before joining Prime Time in January 2013.

Commenting on his new role George said: “I am really looking forward to taking on this new challenge and with both my parents being from farming backgrounds I have a particular and natural affinity with the sector.

“It is a great privilege for me to be afforded the opportunity to report, explain, and reflect the changes that will take place throughout the Irish agriculture and food sector in the years ahead. And it will be a great joy for me personally to get to know the farming community, and all those who work so hard to make our food industry the success that it is. I have no doubt that the hard work, the professionalism, and the personal stories of those in our farming community can serve to inspire us all and I am very much looking forward to reporting on that.

He continued: “This is a very exciting time for the Irish agricultural and food sector. There are great prospects for increased output and employment, and great hopes that agribusiness can help push our entire domestic economy forward at a critically important time. But our farming community also faces some enormous challenges that need to be overcome if we are to truly unlock the potential of this, Ireland’s most important industry. The volatility of farm incomes, the threat posed by new international trade agreements, and the adjustments that will be required at family farm level as a result of EU reforms. All of these pose huge personal challenges for farm families.

“This is also a critically important time in terms of global warming, and the environmental issues that we all face. I am thrilled to have be given the opportunity to report about these issues and how we respond to the environment challenges that lie ahead for us all.”

Kevin Bakhurst, managing director, RTÉ News & Current Affairs said: “I’m absolutely delighted that George is taking up this role. His formidable analytical and communication skills, – combined with his infectious enthusiasm for this important new role – will be great for RTÉ News and our audiences. George will ensure that RTÉ’s coverage of the crucial areas of agriculture and environment is done with real insight, intelligence and impact”.