IFA deputy presidential candidates pitch plans to crowd in Limerick

At the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) presidential election debate in the South Court Hotel, Limerick, tonight, Monday, October 21, the two candidates for the role of deputy president gave their views on a number of issues in Irish farming at the moment.

Both candidates – Thomas Cooney and Brian Rushe – outlined to the crowd of over 300 people in attendance at the meeting their work in the IFA to date.

One speaker from the floor noted that both Cooney and Rushe were dairy farmers and added that the dairy bull calf is “causing a huge problem in the Limerick area”.

The speaker outlined that the IFA’s deputy president sits on the board of Teagasc and asked them, if elected, what would each of the candidates bring to the board.


Responding to the question, Brian Rushe said: “I think there is a growing realisation among dairy farmers that we need to provide a calf of economic value but the number one issue facing the dairy bull calf is the base-price of beef.

Without a beef sector, we don’t have a viable calf sector.

Rushe added that “a sexed-semen laboratory should be set up in Ireland and should be subsidised by the Government”.


Responding to the speaker from the floor’s concern on bull calves, Thomas Cooney said: “We do need sexed semen and we shouldn’t be producing bull calves that have no beef merit in them.

We also need to continue to expand our live exports.

“The live export trade is vital to get those calves out of the system because the extra dairy bull calves coming on the market is part of the beef crisis at the minute.”

Commenting on the veal industry in Ireland, Cooney noted “it’s something we shouldn’t rule out”.

The event drew to a close at approximately 11:45pm and the candidates will all be attending the Kerry debate in the Rose Hotel, Tralee, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22.