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07 Oct 2022

National farming conversation needed insists Laois Labour man

National farming conversation needed insists Laois Labour man

Senator mark wall, labour rep Eoin Barry and Ivana Bacik Td at the labour stand at national ploughing championship.

The Government must convene a Citizens’ Assembly on the future of agriculture and food production in Ireland according to the Labour Party's Laois-Offaly representative Eoin Barry.

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships, in Ratheniska, Mr Barry said a radical rethink of Ireland’s agriculture sector needs to happen to protect livelihoods of farming families and create good and sustainable jobs and communities into the future.

“We need to have a national conversation on what the future of agriculture can look like. To make it happen, it’s time to break free of political short-term thinking, and place good and sustainable jobs and communities at the heart of policymaking. We can make a start by convening a Citizens’ Assembly on the future of Agriculture and Food productions in Ireland without delay.

“I’ve spoken with so many attending this year’s National Ploughing Championships here in Laois at the Labour Party stand about the issues facing farming families and rural communities.

“An assembly could consider everything, from our food strategy to innovative and green ways of farming. We could also consider the types of service we need in rural communities so that people can access the services they need in their local area.

"With the closures of so many post offices and banks around the country many people are having to drive long distances to access services they could previously access in their local village or town. Local public transport isn’t available or flexible enough for people to use and many are having to resort to driving and paying the high cost of fuel," he said.

Mr Barry said there are no solutions for Laois, the midlands or elsewere in the market.

“We know a free-market approach won’t deliver sustainable agriculture and good farming incomes and jobs in the midlands or elsewhere. A Citizens’ Assembly must look at how we find solutions to the immense challenges that we face locally. 

WATCH: Anna May McHugh's delight at Laois venue

National Ploughing Championship Managing Director Anna May McHugh is delighted with the location of this year's World and National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska.

"We know that change is required to promote a sustainable food and agriculture industry and one rooted in rural communities that have the services that people need. As we work to achieve this goal, we need to bring everyone together and build an Ireland that works for all," he concluded.

He was joined at the Labour Party stand by Kildare Senator Mark Wall and Ivana Bacik, the Labour Party Leader.

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