‘What confidence could farmers have in a third-choice minister?’

A TD has called for the government to “immediately engage” with farmer representative bodies to “ensure that the serious concerns facing the sector are addressed” in the wake of Dara Calleary’s resignation as minister.

Martin Browne, a Sinn Féin TD for the Tipperary constituency, claimed that the “resignation of two ministers for agriculture in a little over a month…is simply unacceptable and far below the level of representation agriculture needs at the cabinet table”.

“Family farms in Ireland are facing immense challenges and have been for a long time… In the limited time this government has been in office we have seen little serious action,” Browne argued.

The new CAP [Common Agriculture Policy] will be a major challenge as we need to ensure that family farms are supported, while the threat of cuts to CAP is also a serious concern.

“There is also a concern that the EU Farm to Fork Strategy will create further red tape for farmers without providing the financial incentive farmers deserve for responsible land use that benefits sustainability,” the TD added.

“It is unbelievable that farmers once again are without a senior minister, and when the minister is replaced, what confidence could farmers have knowing it is the third-choice TD for the job,” Browne asked.

“Immediate engagement with all farming bodies is needed to ensure that the serious concerns facing the sector are addressed and that a competent minister is appointed,” the Tipperary deputy concluded.

‘No time for learning on the job’

In other news relating to ‘golfgate’, Taoiseach Micheál Martin is being called on this morning (Monday, August 24) to appoint a new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine “swiftly” and to give the job to someone with “an understanding of agriculture and the agri-food sector”.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) has said that “the fact that Irish farmers are now 60 says without a ‘functioning’ senior minister…is totally unacceptable in such crucial times”.

Colm O’Donnell, the association’s president, said: “The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, who has appointed himself as acting Minister for Agriculture, cannot in all fairness oversee everything.

“He needs to make this appointment swiftly and he needs to give the position to someone with an understanding of agriculture and the agri-food sector. There is no time for learning on the job here,” O’Donnell argued.