Ireland cannot expect a “free ride” on climate change - O’Driscoll
“The future for global markets is very good but we must be competitive and innovative" and “reconcile Irish agriculture and climate change,” the head of the Department told the ASA conference.

“There is no get out jail free card for Irish agriculture... all sectors must play their part,” Aidan O’Driscoll, the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture told the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) annual conference on Friday.

Ahead of a major United Nations conference in Paris this December, O’Driscoll said in his keynote speech that Ireland has become a “strong voice for climate change and food security... and until recently (Ireland had been) a lonely voice... but the good news is that that appears to be changing”.

O’Driscoll added that “much further negotiation” is required to translate into meaningful changes for agriculture ahead of the conference, where legally binding climate change targets will be set.

Future “bright, but not easy”

O’Driscoll also spoke about the policy challenges for Irish agriculture and the difficulties Irish farming must deal with in a volatile market place.

“We must look to the future optimistically but also realistically and with a resilience to deal with the challenges. The future is bright, it is promising but it doesn’t promise to be easy,” O’Driscoll said.

“The latest CSO (Central Statistics Office) figures show food exports of €11.3bn for 2014, a 29% increase since 2010,” O’Driscoll added.

O’Driscoll said that the UK remains the largest exports market for Irish food exports. However, there has been “rapid growth” in trade to non-EU markets with Asia - in particular China - the main destinations.

With regard to ongoing trade negotiations, O’Driscoll said trade deals have the potential to be very good for farming - yet he warned that there are dangers too.

“Freer global markets are in our interests,” O’Driscoll said.

Specifically, O’Driscoll said that there are concerns over Irish beef with any trade between the EU and the US.

Looking forward, O’Driscoll said he remains positive despite the challenges of climate change and market volatility.

“The future for global markets is very good but we must be competitive and innovative... (Ireland must also learn) how to reconcile Irish agriculture and climate change,” O’Driscoll concluded.

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Full coverage of the ASA conference

Agri jobs: dairy, meat processing and horticulture jobs
We take a look at what jobs are out there at the moment in the agricultural sector.

Horticulture worker

A horticulture worker is required on a farm in Kells, Co Kilkenny. General duties will include carrying out all work associated with cropping, repairing and maintaining farm vehicles and digging and planting seeds.

Other work will include harvesting fruit and vegetables. The salary is €22,000/year.

For more information on this role, click here.

Dairy farm manager

A dairy farm worker is required for an expanding grass-based dairy operation in Co Laois. The successful candidate could progress to being the dairy farm manager.

This dairy enterprise is running two dairy herds, one in Ballacolla and one in Rathdowney. Both farms are new greenfield sites which have modern milking facilities.

For further details, click here.

Dairy farm worker

A farm worker is required for a family-run dairy farm with a modern set up and expanding herd in Co Monaghan. Duties will include milking cows, feeding calves, machinery work and general farm work.

Experience is desirable and a Green Cert is preferable. A full clean driving licence is essential.

To apply for this job, click here.

Dairy farm worker

A farm worker is required to work on a progressive dairy farm in Co Cork.

Duties will include milking cows, rearing calves and grassland management. Some experience is an advantage for the role.

For more information on this position, click here.

Meat processing operatives

Ballon Meats in Carlow is looking to hire meat processing operatives to work as part of the factory processing team producing meat to fulfil production targets on a daily and weekly basis.

The successful candidates will be required to work in all areas of the factory, where you will be required to work on your own initiative and as part of a team.

For more information on this position, click here.

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

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No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.


His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.


While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”