New IFA environmental chair to speak at Tipperary meeting

The new Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Environmental Committee chairman Paul O’Brien will be guest speaker at a meeting in Co. Tipperary next week.

The Kilkenny farmer will give an address at North Tipperary IFA’s county executive meeting this Monday night, February 10, in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh.

The meeting will be open to all farmers and rural dwellers interested in attending, and will get underway from 8:00pm.

Key items up for discussion on the night include: benefits, both economic and environmental, of the IFA’s Smart Farming voluntary initiative; as well as renewable energy, where the whole debate is at presently and what options are open to farmers.

According to North Tipperary IFA county chairwoman Imelda Walsh, O’Brien will also give attendees an account of the recent climate change debate held in the Royal College of Surgeons Dublin.

At this debate, heavy-hitters in the agricultural climate action debate gave addresses, including: Prof. John Fitzgerald, chairman of the Climate Action Advisory Council; Prof. Frank Mitloehner from the University of California Davis; and Frank O’Mara, director of research at Teagasc.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Walsh said: “It’s hugely important for the farming community that we’re not scapegoated as the villains in the environment debate. Transport and air travel have to be part of the whole debate.”

The county chair also highlighted that the Teagasc climate road map, which farmers are following, needs to be recognised with its recommendations being acted upon.

The retention of our nitrates derogation is of massive importance to our dairy industry in particular and must be maintained; Paul will be discussing this and water quality and the positive steps farmers are taking regarding farming in a sustainable way.

On a more local level, the controversial proposed Shannon water pipeline from Parteen to Dublin which will impact on many farming families in North Tipperary will be discussed with the environmental chair outlining the most up-to-date information on the matter.

Finally, O’Brien is expected to give an insight into the work of the environmental committee and his job ahead.