Mairead McGuiness has been elected to the position of Vice President of the European Parliament, a role which she will hold for the next two and half years.

“This is a great honour for me,” she told Agriland.

“It will provide me with an opportunity to work at the very heart of the European Parliament. I will also be retaining my positions on both the Agriculture and Environment Committees over the next five years.

“The work of both committees will complement each other during the period ahead. There is little doubt that environmental issues will come more to the fore within agriculture. In fact, we are seeing this already with the Greening measures, which were agreed as part of the last CAP review.”

Mairead McGuinness believes that Ireland can best make its case to Europe by actively addressing those issues which have a truly international theme.

“The key drivers for the EU are the need to secure improved economic growth and job creation. I see myself playing an important role in making this happen. And if this can be achieved then it is both good news for Europe as a whole and Ireland specifically.

Turning to the challenges facing Irish agriculture at the present time Mairead McGuinness said:“I will endeavour to represent the needs of Irish farmers on all occasions. I have a strong track record in doing this and it is my intention to ensure that every opportunity will be taken to highlight those issues which have a direct bearing on Irish agriculture moving forward.

“It is important that Irish agriculture has a sustainable future. I am fully aware of the challenges confronting the beef sector at the present time. The fundamental bottom line is that producers across all sectors must be in a position to make profits. This must reflect the farmgate prices that are available plus the cost base of our farmers.”