Not about who is the minister, but what they will make priority
WEST Cork’s farming representatives are less concerned about the identity of the next Minister for Agriculture, and are more focussed on how whoever holds the portfolio will deliver what’s needed for the sector.
Speculation has emerged that the current minister, Macroom’s Michael Creed could be in line for demotion, along with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Rural Development Michael Ring.
Political sources say the Taoiseach will be under pressure to bring ‘new blood’ to the Fine Gael line up, and these could be the casualties.
Munster regional chair of the IFA, Courtmacsherry farmer Harold Kingston says he has ‘no views or preferences’ whether or not Minister Creed retains his position.
Instead, he says it’s far more vital that the important issues facing the agri sector are being discussed during government formation talks and put to the fore.
As well as the reduction of emissions, he said, farmers incomes have to be highlighted.
‘The priority has to be the sustainability and viability of the the sector,’ he said.
Regarding the key points of the CAP talks, he added that it was ‘fine to have aspirations, but that it was important to talk specifics, and how things will be achieved.’
‘So with that in mind, it’s less about the personel, and more how things are going to be done,’ said Harold
Meanwhile, chair of West Cork ICMSA Eileen Calnan said it was imperative the ministry went to a Cork person.
‘This is vital considering that one quarter of all the milk produced in the country, comes from Cork,’ the Clonakilty woman said.
She agreed with Harold that farm incomes had to be addressed: ‘We are getting the same prices as we were 30 years ago, but there’s so much more secretarial and paper work involved now, and there’s no added value for that.’