‘We can’t afford to be without a minister’ – farm groups react to Calleary resignation

Farm organisations have reacted to the news of Dara Calleary, resigning this morning in the wake of news that he had breached public health guidelines by attending an event in Clifden, Co. Galway, on Wednesday (August 19).

The now-former minister announced his resignation this morning (Friday, August 21), which was accepted by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.


The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) said that farmers will learn of Minister Calleary’s resignation with “something approaching disbelief”.

Pat McCormack said that it was “unacceptable that the state’s biggest indigenous economic activity was without cabinet representation… This must be rectified immediately”.

Also Read: Dara Calleary has resigned as Minister for Agriculture

McCormack added that it was “difficult to remember a time when there were more pressing issues for a minister, with such a key role in farming, food production, Brexit and the environment to address”.

“A minister for agriculture, food and the marine will have to be appointed immediately and the appointment must reflect the importance of the farming and food sector as the economic engine of most of the state outside the cities,” McCormack concluded.


The general secretary of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Eddie Punch told AgriLand that “we can’t afford to be without a minister for agriculture while important issues like Brexit and the Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] remain in negotiations”.

The reality of it is, is that Micheál Martin will not be minister for agriculture… The reality is that the Taoiseach has far too much to do to fulfil the role.

Also Read: Taoiseach will take over agriculture brief until Dáil reconvenes

“There are urgent issues to be dealt with in agriculture and it’s unfortunate – to put it mildly – that we have had three ministers in three months… We need a minister as soon as possible.”


The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) national chairperson Vincent Roddy said that the resignation of Dara Calleary is “disappointing for both him and his family, but the guidelines are the guidelines”.

He outlined his concerns that if it is going to take three weeks (until the Dáil reconvenes) to appoint a new minister, that this was “simply not good enough in light of both Brexit and CAP negotiations”.


AgriLand understands that senior figures in the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) are meeting to discuss this issue today, and the organisation may comment in due course.