Minister Coveney stays silent on farm incomes

The week that we learn that drystock farmers’ incomes continue to fall year-on-year, it seems our Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, is more concerned with the bigger political picture than the fate of farmers at home.

This weekend Minister Coveney is in Denmark at the Bilderberg Meeting. The Bilderberg Meeting is an invite-only event and is dubbed as the world’s most secretive meeting. It’s aim is to foster dialogue between the US and Europe. Topics for discussion this year include ‘is the economic recovery sustainable?’ and ‘does privacy exist’ and ‘what next for Europe?’

Participants are invited, according to the official website, because they offer a ‘different point of view’. Attendees this year include the executive chairman of Google, the head of MI6 and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK and the theme is ‘megatrends’ and to foster dialogue between the US and Europe and there is no desired outcome, no resolutions are proposes, nor are votes taken and no policy statements are issued.

Interesting stuff. But it comes the week that figures are released on Irish family farm incomes. According to these figures, the average family farm income in Ireland has dipped again, albeit by 1%, to €25,639, compared to the average industrial wage of €43,000. Sheep farm incomes took a real nose dive, with the average family farm income here down to €11,160.

But, it seems to be of little concern of the Minister for Agriculture. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be on his radar – he hasn’t commented on the situation. In light of the change of leadership in the Labour Party at the moment and the imminent reshuffle, it seems Minister Coveney has his sights set on fields other than farming.