The fact RTÉ has left a dedicated agriculture correspondent role vacant shows huge disrespect to those working in agriculture, particularly at a time when there is so much going on in the sector in relation to CAP and climate change, according to Senator Tim Lombard.

The Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on agriculture said that the farming community has been left without an RTÉ agriculture correspondent for over eight months now.

“The position has been vacant since earlier this year, despite other correspondents being appointed in the meantime.”

Former agriculture correspondent Fran McNulty finished his time in the role in early 2021 and is now a presenter for RTÉ’s Primetime.

Balanced debate

Lombard insisted that RTÉ can’t be “serious about having a balanced debate on agriculture and informing the public about the sector without a dedicated journalist”.

“Families, workers and communities across the country rely on farming and food production.

“The agriculture sector is key not only to our economy, but it is also a vital aspect in our fight against climate change.

“The public have a right to balanced and informed information on the sector. We need to be kept up to date with news on new technologies, research, Government supports and much more.”

No appointment

RTÉ announced last week that former US correspondent Brian O’Donovan will now become work and technology correspondent as he returns to Ireland.

Lombard said: “I assumed there would be a follow-on in the appointment of an agriculture correspondent. But yet again, we see the position remain vacant.

“I am calling on RTÉ to step up and appoint a new agriculture correspondent as a matter of urgency.”