Worth noting the attempted stunt pulled by Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine Charlie McConalogue when he tried this week to blame farmers for having a part in the debacle of the cattle cull proposal because the farming community ‘had representation’ on the Food Vision group that originally discussed the option.
This was correctly responded to by IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe who accused the Minister of setting up industry stakeholder groups and then using these groups as a “political mudguard” for himself.
This mirrors exactly what McConalogue did in the fishing industry with the establishment of the Seafood Sector Taskforce group in October 2021 and ever since then has been telling the media and the public that so many things that the industry are not happy with at this time were actually the recommendations that came out from this taskforce that the fishing industry were part of.
In fact, long before the Seafood Taskforce group had even held their first meeting, the Minister said in public that he expected the outcome of this group recommendations to include tie-up and decommissioning schemes - so in other words, the group was set up purely to give official rubber-stamp to what he and his DAFM advisors intended to carry out anyway.
Interesting to note however that just one week before making that statement in public, McConalogue, when questioned by the IFSA during the Virtual Town Hall meetings, said that there were “no plans for decommissioning at this time”….
It would be interesting to know how many actual farming representatives were ‘selected’ by the Minister to sit on the Food Vision group but in the case of the Seafood Taskforce group the level of representatives actually from fishing and fish processing sectors only made up around 10% of the body.
A “political mudguard” indeed - and one only has to look at the current vessel decommissioning scheme that the Minister claims that “the industry wanted” when in fact several industry organisation leaders participating in the taskforce clearly voiced opposition against at the time.
When are the people of this, and other, Irish industries going to wake up and see that this Government are taking us all for a ride and that progress, growth and development of traditional Irish food sectors are not on the agenda for the long term management of this nation’s economy?
Michael Collins Independent TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD
Brendan Byrne Aodh O Donnell Patrick Murphy Gregory Casey