The Minister for Agriculture and the Marine has insisted the sector will be able to survive and thrive as the Government works to deliver on its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 7% a year.
Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen was appointed to the role by Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday.
Speaking to On the Record with Gavan Reilly this morning, he said it is imperative that the agriculture sector “moves with the times” but insisted all government departments would be working to ensure it “plays a huge leading pivotal role in our economy.”
“There is a recognition on behalf of the three parties of the role that agriculture plays and has played and no effort in relation to a climate action plan would be one that would impede upon that sector’s ability to deliver,” he said.
“That has been recognised by the fact that there is no overburdening responsibility in relation to agriculture to reduce emissions over and above what it is able to do.”
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) June 28, 2020
He said the sector has nothing to fear from the Green Party’s focus on tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.
“That is not to say there won’t be continued effort to reduce emission and, as I say, with agriculture, it is not today or yesterday they have moved in that direction,” he said.
“We will look to bring the sector with us along a journey which ensures that we remain such a world-leader in relation to the products we produce and the commitment it makes to the economic wellbeing of the country.”
He insisted that the Government will ensure that “no region in Ireland is left behind” in the coming years – despite the fact that no representatives from Connacht, the south east or the north west have been appointed to Cabinet.
“I am sure that we will complement yesterday’s appointments with positions of authority, positions of effective nature in the junior appointments and I look forward to that,” he said.
“Until that work is complete one can’t get an appreciation of the role that many people will play.”
He said once all the new appointments have been made, “all of government will meet and ensure that no region is left behind and I will work as hard as I can along with others to ensure that that is the case.”
Barry Cowen tells @gavreilly the fishing community shouldn’t be worried by the fact that the new Minister for the Marine comes from a landlocked county
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) June 28, 2020
The Laois/Offaly TD said entering government with Fine Gael was a “huge leap of faith” for many people within his party, but said he believed it was the right decision.
“It is no longer a two-and-a-half party system,” he said. “There are eight of ten groupings within the Dáil.
“In normal times at the end of the last election you would have thought that we would be consigned the to the opposition benches with 23% or 24% of the vote.
“But when you look objectively at the results, we are still the largest party in the Dáil, we are the largest party in local government and we have a role to play.
“It was a huge responsibility to ensure a government was formed and I think we have played our part through difficult times to ensure that there was consensus and an effort on our part to ensure that the three parties came together.”
You can listen back to the full interview here: