The Agri-food sector in Ireland contributes a value of €24bn to the national economy, generates 6.3% of gross value added, almost 10% of Ireland’s exports and provides 7.7% of national employment. When employment in inputs, processing and marketing is included, the agri-food sector accounts for almost 10% of employment.

We have two pillar banks and, although these are 14% and 99% owned by the Government, the sector is effectively private. This is at odds with other countries – globally, almost 40% of banks are publicly owned.