Visit to Ploughing Championships

Posted by Alan Kelly on September 24, 2009 at 03:49 PM

Alan and Eamon at Ploughing Championships
Alan and Eamon at Ploughing Championships

Yesterday I spent the day at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Co. Kildare with my party leader, Eamon Gilmore and fellow labour representatives.

It struck me see the huge number of farmers and agri-business sector workers I met and spoke to who are totally disillusioned by the current government and their plans to cut vital agriculture schemes.

As a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in the European Parliament, I especially can identify with the severe degree of suffering endured by those in the Irish farming industry. The anger and frustration that is being caused to these hard-working people is just unacceptable.

Thankfully Irish farmers have an option to challenge some of the difficulties facing the farming sector – the Lisbon Treaty.

The passing of the Lisbon Treaty would mean that Common Agriculture Policy would come under a process of ‘Co-Decision’ and will allow greater powers for the European Agriculture Committee.

Simply this means that the European Parliament will co-decide with the European Commission and Council of Ministers on areas of agricultural policy. The way it is now is that Agriculture Committee can only give opinions.

Luckily, if a Yes vote is secured it will mean that Irish MEP’s such as myself will have an equal say with the Council of Ministers on the future of the Irish agriculture sector.

As MEP for Munster and coming from a rural farming background myself, I completely understand the anger felt towards current government proposals and will do my very best to get them the best deal possible in Europe.

Farmers need a strong, clear voice in the EU and the Lisbon Treaty can make this happen.

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