13 Sep 2021, 15.50
The Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food, and the Marine will meet twice tomorrow, Tuesday, 14 September, to discuss the second stage consultation of the Nitrates Action Programme and resume its discussion on issues related to the Forestry Industry.
The Committee will meet with the following representatives.
- Meeting 1 - (9:30 - 11:30) - Representatives from The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) and Macra na Feirme.
- Meeting 2 - (15:30 - 17:30) - Officials from Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Cathaoirleach, Jackie Cahill TD, said: “The Committee looks forward to discussing the Nitrates Action Programme – 2nd stage consultation – with the various representatives today. The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector contributing to 7.8% of Gross National Income (GNI), 7.9% of total employment and 11.1% of all merchandise exports. Agri-food exports have grown by over 70% from 2009 to 2017 when they reached €13.6 billion. We should be proud to have the robust agri-food industry we have, but there are concerns.
Concerns that short-sighted policy changes may be having long-term effects on our agriculture industry – there is a need for long-sighted solutions. There are concerns about the impact on farm incomes and the extent to which farmers will be financially supported to implement the new measures. And, it is interesting to see that farming organisations have called for a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed measures and the associated improvement to water quality.
The Committee look forward to hearing from the farming bodies and discussing with them other solutions that may not have such a detrimental effect on farming in Ireland.
The Cathaoirleach added: “The Committee are anxious to hear about the progress on commitments made in the Programme for Government to address the difficulties faced by the forestry industry in Ireland. We would also like to raise concerns about the knock-on effect the difficulties are having on other sectors of the economy, including the construction industry where a shortage of timber supplies is causing particular strain.
The Members want an update from the Department on the amount of tree felling licences issued in recent weeks and months, and clarification on why there is a delay and if it is due to the introduction of a new regulation where projects which fall under the Habitats Directive now require an additional 30 days for public consultation.”
The Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.
More information can be found on the dedicated Committee Webpage. Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.