People need to be taught that food does not come from a supermarket shelf, according to MEP Maria Walsh.

The Midlands-Northwest MEP said that there needs to be “an awful lot of education around people’s belief system that food comes from supermarket shelves and that’s not the case”.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Walsh warned that because of the lack of understanding of agriculture within the general public, farmers don’t feel respected.

“I think there’s frustration on farmers young and seasoned,” she said.


MEP Walsh said that farmers are also frustrated that policy at a European and national level is “not reflecting or supporting them on the ground”.

“Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing, a sustainable food model where farmers are paid for their production.

There’s frustration for young and seasoned farmers, said MEP Maria Walsh.

“That hasn’t been the case for many, many years, when you look at different markets and what they’re actually getting back on that return,” she said.


The Fine Gael MEP said she does not agree with the approach taken by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue regarding the nitrates derogation, in which he said it is not within the Department of Agriculture’s gift, but the European Commission’s, to grant it.

“I think the problem we have with this extremist left and right and what we will see in the next European elections will be this. Because we’re soft in our language of ‘when it’s a good day, it’s an Irish deliverance, but when it’s a bad day, it’s Brussels' fault’, when, actually, we work hand in hand.

“Pointing fingers is not going to help us,” she said.

Farmers’ party

Walsh also criticised the posturing of rural independents regarding their formation of a potential new farmers’ party.

“Rural independents had an opportunity to step into Government in this last draw and they didn’t and members need to be asking why,” she said.