On Thursday last (25th March), Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins hosted a very productive engagement with the wider Waterford agricultural community, Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon on the topics of Farm Safety and CAP.
Colm Markey MEP is a farmer by trade, former President of Macra na Feirme and a full member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs; while Minister for State Martin Heydon has special responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine..
Opening the session Senator Cummins said “I am delighted to see so many Waterford people joining this online event this evening. It is more important than ever in these times to keep engagement open with those in rural communities and the virtual world has its benefits in this regard.
Delivering his address Colm Markey MEP outlined the process that is currently ongoing to negotiate the new Common Agricultural Policy and the measures that are expected to be contained in it. The transition period is expected to come to a conclusion at the end of 2022, with the new CAP being implemented from January 1st 2023. Having only joined the European Parliament in November 2020, MEP Markey has a very detailed brief and is engaging at the highest level in the EU and with grassroots organisations to ensure we achieve a green but fair CAP for Irish farmers.
Minister Martin Heydon focused his contribution largely around the area of farm safety and the heightened emphasis the current Government is placing on improving farm safety measures with capital allowances across several areas. Minister Heydon has secured 18 million euro from the Agriculture budget for farm safety projects which he described as ‘game changing’ for the farming industry, particularly the many farmers who often work alone. Minister Heydon invited those in attendance to submit any thoughts or proposals in this area because it was an area he was passionate about making a real difference on.
Following the guest speakers address the virtual floor was opened to those in attendance to put their questions to the panel. Over an hour of very productive engagement took place with topics such as rural isolation, planning permission for farm families, TB eradication, approaches to climate action, forestry licencing, convergence and the single farm payment being discussed.
Bringing the event to a close Senator John Cummins said “I want to thank all those who have joined us this evening, all be it virtually. This evenings engagement was very positive and it again brought to the fore the importance of affording our agriculture community the opportunity to engage with decision makers on a one to one basis. I am very much looking forward to hosting future events of this nature.
Should you have any issues you would like to raise regarding agriculture or any other matter, please feel free to email Senator John Cummins on firstname.lastname@example.org or call his constituency office on 085-1090927.