Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that it is time for the government to focus on the business of legislating, and particularly addressing the very real and big concerns affecting Irish family farmers.
He was speaking following the chaotic period of days which saw Barry Cowen sacked as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the appointment of Dara Calleary to the position.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The distractions of government formation and the subsequent controversary surrounding Barry Cowen has meant that there has been a lack of focus for several months on the very real challenges facing Irish farmers.
“On a personal level, I extend my best wishes to the Cowen family. Many questions remain regarding the role of the Taoiseach in relation to the events which led to the dismissal of Barry Cowen as Minister.
“However, these cannot be allowed to distract from the work at hand. For example, Irish agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges over the coming months from the prospect of a Brexit fallout, the ongoing Coronavirus implications, impending EU trade deals such as with the Mercosur block and upcoming CAP negotiations.
“We need government’s attention to be focused on delivering in these areas and on other policies that protect families and workers during these turbulent times. There is no evidence that they are up to that task particularly in the area of agriculture.
“I congratulate Dara Calleary on his appointment. I hope that he will be willing to engage with me as lead opposition spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and Marine, to deliver solutions to the concerns of Irish family farmers.
“Our family farmers need to see policies and measures that will deliver fair prices, a fair CAP and fair play. For our part, Sinn Féin will engage constructively with government to provide the legislative proposals to do just that. We will hold the Minister and government to account when they don’t act in the best interests of family farms and our rural communities.
“The new Minister and the government now need to move beyond the distractions and focus on those issues that matter to our farming families”.