Kildare chairman declares IFA election intentions

Chairman of Kildare Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Brian Rushe has declared his intentions of running in this year’s national IFA elections for the position of IFA national deputy president.

The county chairman made the announcement this morning, Tuesday, July 16, following his nomination for the position by Kildare IFA at a county executive meeting last night.

Rushe – a dairy and beef farmer and former Nuffield scholar – was nominated by his home branch, Carbery Cadamstown, and seconded by Moone branch, to contest for the role of deputy president.

Priorities

Speaking to AgriLand on his county nomination and his intention to run, Rush said:

“First of all, I haven’t taken this decision lightly and I have the full support. I’ve considered it and I’ve the full support of my family.

“I’ve gauged the support around the country and I feel the support is there for me to run.”

The Kildare chairman outlined three key priorities that he will be focusing on:
  • Transparency;
  • Climate challenge;
  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Explaining these priorities, Rushe said: “In terms of transparency, as a farmer, and a beef farmer in particular, everything we do is transparent.

“From the day the animal is born to the day that animal goes into the factory – but that’s where it ends. And there’s no transparency at processor level.

“Due to the structures and things that processors have put in place to keep their profits secret; and there’s no equity in that. There’s no fairness.

In order for farmers to strengthen their position in the supply chain they have to have transparency throughout the supply chain. So there needs to be a competition authority with teeth.

The current competition authority only looks after consumers – and they’re only ensuring that consumers have access to low prices or to cheap food.

“We need a competition authority that can look after the primary producer and ensure fairness in the supply chain.”

Turning to his second priority of addressing the climate change challenge, Rushe said: “Farmers are very much aware of what they’ve to do in this; they’re stepping up to the plate and they’re adopting new technologies.

They’re doing everything that’s been asked of them and they’ll continue to do that – but it can’t be at the expense of their income.

“Farmers’ incomes are already in a very vulnerable position and any of the measures that farmers adopt in terms of combating the climate challenge; all society is going to benefit from that.

“So it’s only fair and equitable that farmers are properly recompensed for their efforts.”

The farmer pointed to the apparent double standards at play in Ireland, referencing air travel in particular.

We only need to look at the news – Dublin Airport has just announced that they’ve had their busiest June on record and this was lauded.

“The Government, everyone lauded this as being great for the economy – but there’s been no questions asked about what’s the impact on the environment from that. Farmers are doing their bit – they need to be recompensed.”

Finally, on CAP, the county chairman noted that with conditionality, there will be more conditions put to farmers whenever the next policy comes into play.

However, he stressed: “We cannot allow the payment to be eroded and the value of the payment to be eroded any further.

Because it’s forming the bulk of the income for most Irish farmers and again it’s an issue of fairness and an issue of protecting farm incomes.

“Any measures introduced in that cannot erode farm income any further. In fact I’d make the case that if people expect farmers to do more for the environment farmers need to be recompensed and looked after for that effort.

Next steps

“I’m announcing my intention to run; I do require the nominations of five other counties. I have my own home county’s nomination.

“I now need the nominations of five other counties in order to contest the election. That’s where I go from here.

“In terms of why I’m running, I see IFA as being very important to my future; it’s through the IFA I’ll be fighting for my future.

“I’m banking my future on farming, I’m banking my children’s future on farming, and I want to fight for that and make sure it’s a viable proposition for both my family and my children’s family.”

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