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Fine Gael’s agricultural group presents plan for a new partnership with farmers in Waterford

Fine Gael’s National Agricultural, Food, and Rural Development Forum (NAFRD) has a plan to create a new partnership with farmers in Waterford, Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has said.

Since its formation, NAFRD has held a series of public meetings with farmers, rural dwellers and agri-businesses around the country. At the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Taoiseach Harris requested that NAFRD bring forward a report detailing a plan on how action could be taken on the feedback received.

NAFRD Chairman Eddie Downey said: “When I put my name forward to chair Fine Gael’s National Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Forum, I did so because I believed this party sees a future for Irish agriculture.

“Agriculture is Ireland’s oldest and most important indigenous industry; its future must never be dominated by uncertainty or indifference.

“That is why this group was formed. Over the last two years, we have travelled the countryside canvassing the views of farmers, rural dwellers and business people. The report is a summary of the main issues raised at our meetings and a set of recommendations formulated by this forum.”

The report covers five main areas - the future of CAP, farm succession, a reform of land leasing, climate and environmental issues, and protecting rural life. It will be considered by Fine Gael in the formulation of future agricultural and rural policy.

Senator John Cummins said: “Fine Gael values the essential role farmers in Waterford play in our economy and our society. The agri-food sector employs over 170,000 people, making a hugely significant economic and social contribution to rural and coastal communities, especially here in Waterford.”

Senator Cummins concluded: “I am out engaging with the sector on a daily basis while canvassing and I have no doubt there is a bright future ahead provided we work collaboratively and take a common-sense approach to things”.

“One of those areas where I feel common sense can often belacking is in the area of farm inspections which I raised recently in the Seanad. Instead of an adversarial approach where farmers are penalised, I believe a more collaborative approach, similar to what is deployed in our education system is warranted. Take a whole school evaluation; a school is given notice in advance of an inspection; recommendations are made to improve several areas and time is given to address them. There is no reason, save where an animal welfare issue exists, that such an approach shouldn’t be taken in the area of agriculture”.


“We must continue to work with the farming community to address the challenges ahead and this policy contains severalsignificant recommendations and charts a pathway forwardand I look forward to seeing as many recommendations as possible implemented in the time ahead”.

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