New minister’s ‘duty of care’ must ‘extend equally’ to all farmers – INHFA

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has said that the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, must “extend his duty of care equally to ensure the sustainability of all farmers”.

The INHFA has welcomed McConalogue to his new role, having been appointed yesterday (Wednesday, September 3).

Following a virtual meeting of the association last night, the INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said that he has requested an early meeting with the minister, to “present him with the INHFA pre-budget submission and outline key priorities and concerns on behalf of our members and their farm families”.

“Among those priorities [is] that Minister McConalogue strives to become the minister representing all sectors within agriculture; and that his duty of care extends equally to ensure the sustainability of all farmers – whether they be from the ‘Golden Vale’ or the top of the mountain.”

O’Donnell said that the minister is “well aware of the INHFA’s position on a number of issues”.

The INHFA outlined what issues it hopes to focus in on while working alongside McConalogue:
  • The INHFA’s concerns surrounding the EU Biodiversity Strategy and land designations;
  • Additional direct support for suckler cow farmers by way of a front-loaded welfare type scheme;
  • Increased payments in the Sheep Welfare Scheme;
  • The “fairer distribution” of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments;
  • “Worries surrounding the proposed wording of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition [GAEC 2] regarding appropriate protection of carbon-rich soils”;
  • A well-funded environmental scheme that’s “tailored to the needs of different types of farming”.

McConalogue’s ministerial appointment

McConalogue’s elevation to the rank of senior minister was announced yesterday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, before the newly-appointed minister travelled to Áras an Uachtaráin to receive his seal of office.

He has taken over the ministerial role following the resignation of Dara Calleary from the position, which happened in the midst of a growing controversy on Friday, August 21, surrounding the so-called ‘Golfgate’ debacle.

The Fianna Fáil deputy had previously been appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for law reform at the Department of Justice and Equality (in the recently-formed government).