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First Limerick IFA election contest in 29 years
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First Limerick IFA election contest in 29 years

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Shay Galvin has won in the first election in almost three decades.
Shay Galvin has won in the first election in almost three decades.

A beef and tillage farmer has been elected as the new Limerick IFA chair.

The first election in 29 years in the county was won by Shay Galvin from Croom.

After an intense election campaign, Shay, who is outgoing secretary of the county executive, defeated Donal O’Brien of Pallaskenry.

The last election was held in 1988 and was won by John Dillon, who went on to be elected IFA president.

Commodity prices

Shay, who farms a beef and tillage enterprise with his father and brother, is hoping to safeguard farm incomes during his tenure.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal Shay said Brexit is the biggest concern facing Irish farms.

“In the next couple of years, Brexit and international trade will have the biggest impact on Irish farming and commodity prices,” said Shay. “We need to try to safeguard and protect incomes.”

“If there is a hard Brexit, the main concern will be keeping trade with supermarkets and ensuring Irish produce is not competing with low-quality products.”

Shay also said trade deals were a concern and the impact this has for farmers.

International trade

On Wednesday, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada was approved by the European Parliament. This will see up to 50,000t of hormone-free Canadian beef come into the EU, while the EU can export tariff-free and quota-free beef to Canada in return.

“Under the CETA deal, as trade evolves and conditions change, we need to keep the quota of Canadian beef coming into the EU as small as possible.

Apart from the larger issues of Brexit and trade deals, Shay intends to focus on the challenges farmers face locally as well.

“Farmers are worried about the Kerry shares and the reviews into the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) if it were to result in our land being excluded.”

Rural crime remains a problem also, Shay said, with two farm thefts in the past week alone in Co Limerick.

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