“We need a Minister for Agriculture who is going to act, talk, and react for the farmers”.
That’s according to Tullow Mart Manager Eric Driver speaking at the National Ploughing Championships today.
It’s as farmers across the country voice their disappointment with Minister of Agriculture Charlie McConalogue over changes to the nitrates derogation and delays to farming payments with a number of recent protests outside Agriculture House in Dublin and political party think-ins across the country.
A number of them are staging a protest at the Co Laois site, holding signs calling for respect for farmers.
Eric says the Minister has let down the farming community telling KCLR; “The minister has to wake up here and certainly is he kicking the can beyond the next political election? Maybe I hope that it is because the Minister for Agriculture this time has let down farmers beyond call and we need a minister for Agriculture who’s going to act, talk and react for the farmers”.
However, Carlow Fianna Fáil Councillor Fintan Phelan doesn’t think Minister McConalogue’s going anywhere, saying; “While it is challenging, I think that he is the man for the job, he’s listening to farmers, he’s here meeting all the farming organisations over these three days putting the case across for rural Ireland which is vitally important”.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny man Denis Drennan’s hugely involved with the ICMSA, the only farming body of five invited to speak with Minister McConalogue recently to not protest outside. He’s told KCLR it was important to be at the table and says “Ministers come and go and ICMSA has been here for many, many years and whoever the minister is we have to deal with that minister in position and form a relationship and enter negotiations with whatever minister’s in place and do the best we can for our members”.