New agriculture minister needed that can ‘restore confidence to farming communities’

Labour Party spokesperson on agriculture Seán Sherlock has said that “confidence needs to be restored by the government after two Ministers for Agriculture in a row resigned”.

Dara Calleary resigned from his position as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine last Friday (August 21). It had emerged that day before that he had attended an Oireachtas Golf Society event with more than 80 people in attendance, in breach of the most recent public health guidelines, held at the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Connemara, Co. Galway.

Dara Calleary took over the agriculture portfolio after Barry Cowen was removed from the role mid-July on the back of a controversy, in which it was alleged that he attempted to avoid or evade a Garda checkpoint in 2016.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“We all know the circumstances that led to those resignations; but the critical issue now is to appoint a new Minister for Agriculture that can restore confidence to farming communities.

“The Taoiseach has the opportunity to do that this week by recalling the Dáil now instead of needlessly delaying.

There are too many issues at stake to play politics with this position. Farming families need to know that they have someone in that department ready to go to work for them from day one.

“Any further delays weakens the already shaken confidence in this government.”

Poll results: Who do you want as the next Minister for Agriculture?

The resignation of Dara Calleary means that the country is facing its third ministerial appointment in that department in just a few short months.

A number of TDs are being discussed as potential candidates.

The list of prospective would-be Ministers for Agriculture includes (but is not limited to) the following (in alphabetical order):

  • Jackie Cahill;
  • Simon Coveney;
  • Charlie McConalogue;
  • Anne Rabbitte;
  • Brendan Smith.

AgriLand hosted an impromptu online poll, which opened yesterday (Monday, August 24) and ran for circa 24 hours, whereby readers had the opportunity to have their say. It should be noted that this was an ‘open’ poll; it was open to all and sundry. In other words, it didn’t involve a ‘controlled sample’.

However, each reader (i.e. each user / IP address) could only vote once.

The question – ‘Who will be the next Minister for Agriculture?‘ – was to the point.

Jackie Cahill topped our poll – garnering over 34% of the votes. Next up was Charlie McConalogue (circa 22%); followed by Simon Coveney (circa 21%). Circa 15% of the votes were for Anne Rabbitte; Circa 8% were for Brendan Smith.