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

The resignation of Dara Calleary as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Friday (August 21) 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.

We’ve now closed the poll. There were over 3,000 respondents during a relatively short time-frame.

Here (below) is the outcome

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.

Who was on our list?

Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill, a former president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), is well-known in farming circles and has previously expressed an interest in the role. He was first elected to the Dáil in 2016 (Tipperary constituency).

Also the subject of speculation is Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney (Cork South-Central constituency) who previously held the role (Minister for Agriculture) between 2011 and 2016.

However, given that he now serves as the Minister for Foreign Affairs (with a possible no-deal Brexit looming) and given that he is a member of Fine Gael rather than Fianna Fáil (considering the subsequent shuffling of other posts that would be necessitated), it would seem unlikely – at this stage – that he would move to agriculture.

Former Fianna Fáil spokesperson for agriculture Charlie McConalogue is well-known in farming circles (beyond his native Donegal). He was first elected to the Dáil in 2011.

Fellow Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte (Galway East constituency) is also being discussed as a potential candidate. She is currently a Minister of State for Disability.

So too is Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan constituency), who served as Minister for Agriculture from 2008 until 2011. He also served as Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture between 2004 and 2007.