Fine Gael will be holding a public meeting on the future of farming on Monday (May 17).

Kicking off at 8:00pm on Zoom, Minister of State Peter Burke will be hosting the event, with guest speakers Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon and Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan.

All farmers and those involved in agriculture and food production are welcome to attend.

Promotion and protection of agriculture

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Burke said he has not had as much opportunity to engage with farmers since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was timely to get their views.

“Coming from a farming background and still farming with my father, an important issue and priority for me is the promotion and protection of agriculture,” the Longford-Westmeath TD said.

“Farmers have faced many challenges in recent times, not least of which is Brexit, and I want to hear the views of our local farmers on the future of farming and how the government can best work to support farmers. 

“I know I hope to continue farming like my father has, and hopefully in the future pass this on to my sons.”

‘Missing meeting and chatting’

“We are all missing meeting and chatting at the marts or at various sales and I know I have not been in touch with as many farmers as I would normally through the course of my work, as a lot has gone online,” the minister continued.

“As the restrictions are eased, I am looking forward to getting back out meeting more people again, as I believe online is no substitute for being out and about and chatting to people on the ground.”

Noting that agriculture generates €13 billion for the Irish economy “and is the bedrock of rural Ireland when it comes to employment and community”, the minister drew attention to the challenges the sector has faced and continues to face, such as “volatility in the beef market in recent years, fodder shortages, market changes and climate change”.

DAFM matters to be discussed at public meeting

Minister Martin Heydon will be advising on all matters relating to the Department of Agriculture, including new schemes and the new transitional CAP measures that are being put in place. 

The IFA’s Tim Cullinan will be highlighting the issues and the opportunities the industry faces.

All are welcome to attend the meeting, and the link is available through Minister Burke’s social media pages. His office can also be contacted: [email protected] or on 044-9385044, for any assistance.